Avanti May/June 2020

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May/June 2020




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SEI’s Gas Pricing Strategy The Big Disconnect Follow The Money Navigating The COVID-19 Pandemic: NCASEF Educational Webinars For Franchisees Round 2 COVID-19 In New York—An Update Safety And Health During The Road To Recovery Visit NCASEF.com and sign up for Dispatch!

Finding Order Through Uncertain Times

NCASEF 2020 CONVENTION Scheduled for August 10-13, 2020 Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

d e n o p t s o P



May/June 2020

Contents 29 SEI’s Gas Pricing Strategy

pon ed PostNCASEF 2020

By Jay Singh, Chairman, NCASEF, President, South Texas FOA

CONVENTION Originally Scheduled for August 10-13, 2020 Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

33 The Big Disconnect By Michael Jorgensen, Executive Vice Chairman, NCASEF, President, Central Florida FOA

National Harbor, MD



NCASEF Holds First Virtual Board Meeting


2020 Convention Postponed/ To Be Rescheduled


Talk With Other Franchisees On Free Telegram App


National COVID-19 Survey Reveals Franchisee Concerns


Open Letter To SEI Management: Concerns About Mobile Scan-And-Go


Emerging From This Crisis Requires Real Corporate Support


Breaking Down More Of SEI's Misleading Support Plan

37 Follow The Money By Eric H. Karp, Esq., General Counsel, NCASEF

41 Navigating The COVID-19

Pandemic: NCASEF Educational Webinars For Franchisees Round 2 By Rob Bernstein, Esq, Laner Muchin Ltd.

45 COVID-19 In New York—

An Update By Arnold Hauptman, General Counsel, United Franchise Owners of Long Island and New York

Dispatch at NCASEF.com Sign Up For The Dispatch Email Newsletter: PA G E 5 4

49 Safety And Health

AVANTI is published by the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees for all independent franchisees, store managers and interested parties. National Coalition offices are located at 1001 Pat Booker Road, Suite 206, Universal City, TX 78148. For membership information, call 702-249-3301 or e-mail nationaloffice@ncasef.com. AVANTI Offices are located at 116 Bellevue Ave., Suite 304, Langhorne, Pennsylvania 19047. For advertising information, call Sheldon Smith at 215 750-0178 or fax to 215 750-0399; on-line, send messages to sheldon.smith5@verizon.net. The views and opinions expressed in the articles and columns published in Avanti Magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees, its officers or its Board of Directors.



Member News......8 Bits & Pieces...............12 Join Your Local FOA.........22 Legislative Update...................24 SEI News...........................................74 Vendor Focus....................79 FOA Meetings Calendar..............................83 Franchisee Calendar.......86


By John Harp, CSP, ARM—Risk Engineering Consultant, MSIG Insurance Group


During The Road To Recovery

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days to nearly a month aer employees contracted the virus. e virus has placed other financial burdens on franchisees. While SevenEleven Japan has provided some masks e COVID-19 pandemic has done and protective equipment, many owners what a chorus of pleas from 7-Eleven franhave purchased additional gear like gloves chisees in Japan could not: forced Seven & and goggles at their own expense, and inI Holdings to exempt some of its locations stalled plastic barriers to protect their emfrom policies it has spent years fiercely deployees and themselves from the fending, such as its 24-hours-a-day, sevenpathogen. e financial burdens of the days-a-week operations, reported the New closings fall mostly on the franchisees. ReYork Times. It is a relief for store owners placing spoiled food alone can cost $3,000 who were already putting in grueling or $4,000—equal to a few weeks of earnhours for meager returns before the virus ings for some 7-Elevens—and aer stores struck and have since watched business reopen, customers are oen hesitant to dry up as Japan’s workers sheltered at enter the site of a known infection. home under a state of emergency, the are company has taken modest steps to ticle states. As of May 17, Seven-Eleven compensate franchisees and their employJapan said it had closed 236 locations ees. In April, it offered each store a one-time across the country. It declined to say how payment of about $930 and said it would many stores had shortened their hours, an give employees prepaid cards that could be indication of the issue’s continued sensiused to buy groceries and other necessities. tivity. Since March, at least 32 7-Elevens In mid-May, SEJ across the counannounced it try have closed “As of May 17, Seven-Eleven would extend infor periods rangJapan said it had closed 236 terest-free loans ing from a few locations across the country.” of about $4,700 to owners and make an additional $930 available to those whose sales have dropped 10 percent or more. Eiji Yoshimura, an executive committee member of the convenience store owners union, told the Times the measures were

Seven-Eleven Japan Gives Stores A Break

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702-249-3301 • jays@ncasef.com


347-251-1828 • mcjorg@yahoo.com


818-203-2527 • paullobana@aol.com


847-845-8477 • rehan711@yahoo.com


425-438-8381 • ajinderhanda@hotmail.com

Jaspreet Dhillon TREASURER

310-892-2106 • jaspakam@gmail.com


210-971-9211 • shawnh@ncasef.com


617-423-7250 • ekarp@wkwrlaw.com


262-275-3086 • jrpinc@charter.net


215-750-0178 • sheldon.smith5@verizon.net

Sheldon Smith P U BL IS HER & A DVE RTIS IN G SA LE S 2 15 7 5 0- 01 78 S H E LDO N. S M ITH 5 @VE RI ZO N.N E T

The National Coalition Office The strength of an independent trade association lies in its ability to promote, protect and advance the best interests of its members, something no single member or advisory group can achieve. The independent trade association can create a better understanding between its members and those with whom it deals. National Coalition offices are located in Universal City, Texas. 8

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John Santiago A S S IS TA N T E DI TO R 2 1 5 7 50 - 017 8 AVA N TIM AG @V E RIZO N.N E T

1001 Pat Booker Road Suite 206 Universal City, TX 78148 Office 210-971-9211 E-mail: nationaloffice@ncasef.com

The Voice of 7-Eleven Franchisees May/June 2020 ©2020 National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees Avanti Magazine is the registered trademark of The National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees.



Your National Coalition is Committed to Franchisee Interests

National COVID-19 Survey Reveals Franchisee Concerns In a survey conducted from March 26-31, 2020, franchisees voiced their opinions on support provided by SEI as a result of the pandemic. Respondents weighed in on topics such as cleaning supplies, retail inventory, staffing, health and safety, SEI Zone Leadership, store hours and the need for financial assistance. The results speak for themselves: supplies are insufficient, staffing is tenuous (yes: 94 percent), franchisees are concerned for their health and safety (yes: 98 percent), and 70 percent of franchisees would be willing to close their stores during this pandemic. Most stores have experienced a significant downturn in sales as a result of COVID-19, with most franchisees agreeing that SEI should offer financial assistance to franchisees. In addition to elimination of the advertising fee (82 percent), franchisees also suggest reducing the 7-Eleven charge (90 percent), direct financial support (82 percent), and waiving credit card fees (74 percent) and monthly maintenance charges (79 percent).

“Most stores have experienced a significant downturn in sales as a result of COVID-19, with most franchisees agreeing that SEI should offer financial assistance to franchisees.”

The National Coalition conducted the survey to better understand the needs of franchisees during this unprecedented crisis. We have shared your opinions with 7-Eleven management and other stakeholders so that they can be made aware of franchisee concerns. An additional survey will be conducted shortly. We would like to get your feedback as we continue to operate under these severe COVID-19 health and safety restrictions without an SEI commitment to continued financial support for the month of May. We would appreciate participation by all so that we can bring additional issues resulting from this pandemic to the forefront. The National Coalition conducted the survey to better understand the needs of franchisees during this unprecedented crisis. We have shared your opinions with 7-Eleven management and other stakeholders so that they can be made aware of franchisee concerns. An additional survey will be conducted shortly. We would like to get your feedback as we continue to operate under these severe COVID-19 health and safety restrictions without an SEI commitment to continued financial support for the month of May. We would appreciate participation by all so that we can bring additional issues resulting from this pandemic to the forefront.


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Talk With Other Franchisees On Free Telegram App National Coalition members are using a new app to discuss issues, make announcements, post information and send files. It's called Telegram and will accommodate many more than the 250 group member limit of WhatsApp. We already have more than 400 members on Telegram, and we encourage you to download the free app onto your phone or desktop and sign on using the following link: https://t.me/joinchat/QR1k9Efl4QmXqtIFtpaCkQ. There are just a few basic rules: 1. Must be a franchisee and paying member of an FOA affiliated with the National Coalition. 2. Not a member of an FOA? Join one ASAP or become a National Coalition Member at Large. 3. Display your full name and area on your profile so issues can be related to that area. 4. If your full name is not displayed, you will be removed. 5. Posts should be strictly business related. 6. Pro SEI? No problem—we all are, that is why we are franchisees. FOA/National Coalition haters, please stay away. 7. Encourage your fellow franchisees to join. 8. STAY UNITED. LOVE YOU ALL.

Open Letter To SEI Management: Concerns About Mobile Scan-And-Go The Executive Officers of the National Coalition write to you of our deep concerns about the mobile scan-and-go initiative which SEI first rolled out, then paused and is now apparently seeking franchisee input through a survey. We are concerned that the survey was not properly conceived and that franchisees do not have enough information to respond in a reliable fashion. This is in parallel to the fact that the digital committee of the NBLC also did not have adequate information on which to evaluate this payment feature. As far as we are aware, the NLBC was not told at that time that SEI would be going forward with scan-and-go, nor was it asked to vote on the initiative. The testing apparently conducted by SEI involved selected stores in Manhattan, but did not include all of the stores in Manhattan. The test included stores on the Upper East Side and in Midtown Manhattan, some of the most upper demographic zip codes in the country. It also included 14 handpicked stores in the immediate vicinity of your headquarters of Dallas, Texas. The data accessible to the NBLC as well as the franchisees does not include a meaningful analysis of labor costs, shrinkage associated with the technology or consumer sentiment. And the reported increases in sales did not seek to discern the multiple factors that could have played a role in those increases. For example, SEI’s parent company reports in its public filings that the average daily sales per store in the United States was $5,075 in calendar year 2019, and that sales at existing stores posted a year over year increase of 2.4 percent. The average scan-and-go sales in the sample reported to the NBLC was only $45 during the week prior to October 17, 2019. And according to SEI’s Mobile Checkout Power BI Report for the month of March 2020, 19 stores in the New York City area,

“These kinds of potentially disruptive initiatives need to be thoroughly vetted, rigorously tested in truly representative locations, and implemented only after full transparency and franchisee input from all constituencies within the system, including the franchisee leaders democratically elected by their peers.”

a subset of the stores reported to the NBLC the previous October, had on average, daily scanand-go sales of only $31, or about 6/10 of 1 percent of the average daily stores in the country. And our own analysis shows that the franchised stores had average daily scan-and-go sales of $37 while the corporate stores showed an average of just $17.50. Let us be clear that the National Coalition appreciates the need for technological advances in general, especially in this pandemic environment, for payment methods that can minimize or eliminate contact. But these kinds of potentially disruptive initiatives need to be thoroughly vetted, rigorously tested in truly representative locations, and implemented only after full transparency and franchisee input from all constituencies within the system, including the franchisee leaders democratically elected by their peers. These kinds of initiatives should not be issued on a top down, take it or leave it, and you will receive a notice of material breach if you do not comply basis, hence, treating franchisees as store managers. For more than two years, articles have been published about the dangers and fallout from mobile scanand-go, principally in the form of substantially elevated shoplifting rates. And as you well know, franchisees bear 100 percent of the loss associated with inventory shrinkage in the stores. In the March 2018 edition of The Atlantic, Rene Chun, the author of The Banana Trick and Other Acts of Self-Checkout Thievery,” cited a survey of 2,634 people, fully 20 percent of whom admitted to having stolen at self-checkout in the past. A 2015 study of 1 million self-checkout transactions conducted by criminologists at the University of Leicester found $850,000 of shoplifted goods on $21 million of sales. Those criminologists believe that ease of theft and the fact that a

“Franchisees bear 100 percent of the loss associated with inventory shrinkage in the stores.”

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just window-dressing. Mr. Yoshimura, who owns a 7-Eleven in central Tokyo, said the company was “putting on one Band-Aid aer another, but the result is that those stores will ultimately go under.” “Basically, nothing gets resolved,” he said. Owners who have taken advantage of the company’s new lenience are not convinced it will last.

Franchisees May Be At Risk With PPP Loans 7-Eleven franchisees who received federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are at risk of having to repay a material portion of those funds because the company refuses to share internal information on actual rent payments—a key metric necessary to qualify for loan forgiveness, the NCASEF said in a recent press release. Included in the SEI franchise agreement is a provision called “the 7Eleven Charge,” which refers to the payments franchisees make for rent, supplies and other business costs. SEI deducts the Charge from each store’s sales receipts. In some cases, the Charge can exceed 50 percent of a store’s gross margin. Because SEI has ignored repeated requests to disclose the actual portion that is charged to rent, franchisees cannot enter lease payment amounts

“7-Eleven franchisees who received PPP loans are at risk of having to repay a material portion of those funds because the company refuses to share internal information on actual rent payments.”

in the loan forgiveness application, the NCASEF said. “is is another example of how SEI exerts pervasive control over its store operators. Because of the opaque terms in our franchise agreement, 7-Eleven franchisees face the frightening proposition of having to repay PPP loans while other small business owners will be able to have those loans forgiven,” said NCASEF Chairman Jay Singh. NCASEF, along with SEI’s appointed CEO Roundtable, have asked the company to provide rent calculations for franchisees, but it has refused. In a written response to the National Coalition’s request, an SEI representative wrote, “7-Eleven does not allocate which portion of the Charge is attributable to the lease or the other items encompassed by the Charge.”

Hitting Barriers With State Tax Relief Program A letter sent by FOAGLA President Jaspreet Dhillon to California’s attorney general criticizes SEI for “unfair actions” against franchisees during the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for an investigation of “SEI’s unjust business mandates,” reported e Franchise Times. Dated May 28, the letter was sent on behalf of more than 1,200 7-Eleven franchisees in California, who operate approximately 1,800 stores. California announced tax relief effective April 2, in which small-business owners with less than $5 million in taxable annual sales can use a 12-month, interest-free payment plan for up to $50,000 of sales and use tax liability, with the first payment not due until July 31. e state also offered deferrals of first and second quarter estimated tax payments. However, 7-Eleven owners turn over all daily receipts and cash to SEI every day, Dhillon said, and then the continued on page 14


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A new study by research firm Eligibility reveals that for every person who filed an unemployment claim during the first month of the 2008 recession, 6.7 people filed for unemployment in March 2020. By week three of the coronavirus lockdown, more than 3.3 million unemployment claims were filed—eight times the 402,000 of the Great Recession. • In a show of appreciation to medical personnel, White Castle gave away free Sliders and combo meals throughout April to EMTs, paramedics, nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, the burger chain recently announced. • McDonald’s is planning to end its self-service soda fountains due to the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges involved in ensuring its hygiene, reported Yahoo Finance. • Target recently raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour and gave all hourly employees a one-time bonus of $200, reported CNBC. The $2 per hour raise, which began July 5, applies to employees at stores and distribution centers. Target had temporarily raised its wages by $2 an hour in March as coronavirus cases rose. • Amazon has confirmed that it will open a nearly 43,000-square-foot grocery store, complete with a restaurant, in a suburb of Chicago, reported Winsight Grocery Business. The store will have an 862-square-foot seating area for dining on-site, as well as a traditional checkout experience. • The World Bank predicts the largest contraction in the world’s economy since World War II, reported Economo. The institution expects the global gross domestic product to shrink by 5.2 percent this year. • As businesses begin to reopen after the months-long pandemic shutdown, a new survey by Piplsay reveals that 43 percent of Americans would prefer to continue working from home.The study also shows that 66 percent of Americans are comfortable with a permanent work-from-home culture. • As more continued on page 16

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company pays franchisee expenses, including state tax payments. “But aer the state approved the tax relief plan, SEI said franchisees would be in breach of our franchise agreements if we defer paying our taxes. Where other small businesses are able to capitalize on the state’s relief program—and improve their cash flow— we are le out. SEI is still holding our tax payments, even though we don’t owe the money until later this year,” the letter said. In response to the letter, SEI stated: “Mr. Dhillon is mistaken. So far, 7-Eleven Inc. has assisted over 62 franchisees who operate over 114 California stores to participate in the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration’s sales tax deferral program. In fact, we worked with Mr. Dhillon to help him defer remittance


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of sales taxes collected in his store in Reseda. Our plan is to continue supporting our franchisees’ participation in this program until it expires later this year.”

Workweek Trips Nearly Recovered Workweek trips in the midday and evening dayparts have almost fully recovered in states that were the first to ease stay-at-home restrictions, while the convenience channel as a whole is seeing trips at about 90 percent of year-ago levels, reported NACS Daily News, citing the midJune report from PDI and NACS on how COVID-19 is impacting consumer behavior. Spend increased for the reporting week

ended June 7 as Americans increasingly ventured out, and consumers spent more in stores. Year-over-year trips increased for every major category except liquor. e 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. hours saw a significant increase in traffic, almost completely restoring trips during that time of day to last year’s levels. e morning daypart has been steadily regaining ground, sitting at just under 90 percent of prior year trips. C-stores in states that reopened soonest

“e convenience channel as a whole is seeing trips at about 90 percent of year-ago levels, says NACS.”

saw a bigger boost in year over year dollars and trips—up 11 percent and off just 3.8 percent, respectively. ese states include: Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee. Beer, ice and non-alcoholic packaged beverages drove nearly all of the positive change in year over year dollars for the week ended June 7 (up 7.7 percent, 33 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively). e general merchandise category is still a bright spot for the convenience channel, with spend climbing 23.3 percent over the year-ago week, compared with a 16.8 percent increase for the week ended May 31. Other insights for the week ended June 7 include: dollar sales growth increased from the prior two weeks (+8.8 percent vs.

+3.6 percent for the week ended May 31 and +6 percent for the week ended May 24); basket spend inched higher year over year (+21.5 percent vs. +19.7 percent for the week ended May 31), primarily due to an increase in the lottery/gaming, beer and packaged beverage categories; and lottery/gaming increased (+36.5 percent vs. +32.4 percent for the week ended May 31).

Restaurant Concepts Remain Open SEI’s restaurant concepts, Laredo Taco Company and Raise the Roost Chicken

& Biscuits, remained open throughout the pandemic by following enhanced safety measures, reported NACS Daily News. “We work with third-party food safety auditors to maintain a high level of performance and safety in all 7-Eleven restaurants, and the standards exceed local, state and federal guidelines,” SEI Chief Operating Officer Chris Tanco told the trade publication. “All corporate store staff, including restaurant concepts, are required to wear PPE, including masks.” In addition, customers may still have food delivered from both restaurants, and mobile checkout is available in all flagship continued on page 16

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“According to NACS, 2019 was a very good year for inside-the-store sales, which grew by 2.6 percent, beating the previous year’s growth rate by more than 1 percentage point. Total merchandise sales were up 2.1 percent, while foodservice sales were up 5.2 percent.” locations through the 7-Eleven app, allowing customers to skip the checkout counter. Visual floor markers indicate proper social distancing, and acrylic shields are installed at sales counters. In March, 7-Eleven rearranged indoor and outdoor dining rooms following CDC and WHO recommendations and local mandates. Laredo Taco Company dining rooms in Washington, D.C., Texas and San Diego have tables six feet apart and receive additional sanitizing. In flagship stores with Laredo Taco Company, custom orders are prepared behind a protective barrier. Customers pay at the front sales counter as with any other purchase. At Raise the Roost Chicken & Biscuits, customers may create a custom order or find safely packaged staple entrees in grab-and-go hot cases to limit contact and touchpoints.

No COVID-19 Transmission By Food Experts say there is no evidence that the coronavirus is transmitted by food, reported the New York Times. Both takeout and delivery are lower in risk than eating in a restaurant because you tend not to be around others for long periods of time, according to Donald Schaffner,

an extension specialist in food science at Rutgers University. Delivery, though, is slightly safer because of contactless delivery, which lets workers leave food at your door, said Ben Chapman, a professor and food safety specialist at North Carolina State University. Since the ordering and payment are done electronically, customers and workers never need to touch. If the restaurant you’re ordering from doesn’t offer delivery, takeout is still a relatively safe option. But the proximity of other customers, waiting for their food, may pose a hazard.

Inside-The-Store Sales Increase e 45th annual Convenience Store News Industry Report reveals that total industry sales in 2019 fell by 1.9 percent to $648.8 billion, mostly due to lower fuel prices that caused a 4.3 percent drop in motor fuel revenue last year. However, it was a very good year for inside-the-store sales, which grew by 2.6 percent, beating the previous year’s growth rate by more than 1 percentage point. Total merchandise sales were up 2.1 percent, while foodservice sales (prepared food and dispensed beverages) were up 5.2 percent. Both figures represent the best increases since 2016, according to Convenience Store News. Sales per store of merchandise and foodservice combined were up 3.2 percent to a record high of $1,554,276. On the bottom line, total industry pretax profits leapt by 7.8 percent to a record $10.58 billion last year, driven by higher fuel margins and a nearly $4 billion increase in in-store gross profits. continued on page 19


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brands began to speak out against racism after the death of George Floyd, Ben & Jerry’s is being applauded for a strong statement it posted on its website: “The murder of George Floyd was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy,” the ice cream brands said. • Several major retail, entertainment and fitness companies have filed for bankruptcy since the coronavirus pandemic hit, among them Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, Pier 1 Imports, Hertz Car Rental, J. Crew and Gold’s Gym, reported NBC News. • The Petroleum and Convenience Store annual competitive study reveals that Shell receives the most fueling visits, representative of their large market share, but Kwik Trip, Quik Trip, and Wawa fiercely compete for the lead with nearly identical Composite Loyalty Index scores. • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed an order allowing shops and stores in the state to deny service to customers who refuse to wear masks or face coverings once they reopen, reported the New York Daily News. Cuomo said storeowners have a right to protect the other customers in their stores. • Food service company Aramark announced it is opening on-site ‘pop-up’ convenience stores at healthcare facilities across the country, to serve as a one-stop shop for doctors, nurses and hospital staff to grab necessities on their way home. • By the end of April, Walmart paid out nearly $180 million in bonuses to its hourly workers and reached its goal of hiring 200,000 new workers since March 19—covering its distribution centers, store locations, clubs and fulfillment centers—as it continued to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, reported Progressive Grocer. • The average American has had their personal information stolen in a major data breach at least four times in 2019, according to an analysis conducted by Interest.com. That’s a breach of their personal information every three months. • America’s economy shrank continued on page 20

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Convenience Store News noted that this kind of stellar performance will be near-impossible to duplicate in 2020 as the industry deals with the U.S. economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Aer an initial boom of sales driven by panic-buying of basic essentials like toilet paper, bottled water, milk, bread and center-store grocery items, business dropped precipitously as nationwide shelter-in-place regulations destroyed demand for fuel and led to dismal foot traffic numbers.

SEI Recognizes Franchisee Heroes SEI has been recognizing franchisees who have gone above and beyond to do what they can to serve their local communities during the pandemic, reported NACS Daily News. One such franchisee is Dallas-based Raman Saini, who reached out to help frontline nurses and doctors working at Parkland Memorial, the county hospital. Saini coordinated with the hospital director to begin delivering lunch—100 7-Eleven pizzas—three times a week, using the ovens in all four of his stores to produce the pizzas, a job that took about an hour and required help from all employees. When the COVID-19 pandemic caused many customers at his two 7Eleven stores to lose their jobs, South Chicago franchisee Mujtaba “Muji” Baqir posted the following message on Facebook: “If anyone is not working and runs out of food, please don’t go to

care System, reported WWBT sleep with an empty NBC12. e newest 7-Eleven stomach. Don’t be “South Chicago afraid or embarrassed franchisee Mujtaba located on Walmsley Boulevard opened on June 9 and became to send me a private ‘Muji’ Baqir has the first Virginia location feamessage. We will be been giving away turing 7-Eleven’s new southernmore than happy to food on Facebook, inspired quick-serve fried share whatever food we and California chicken concept. SEI said it has have. I will drop it and franchisees Ravi enhanced safety measures and go.” Several residents and Harpreet adjusted operations in stores to have taken Baqir up on maintain a safe shopping envihis offer and quietly reChahal provided ronment. At Raise the Roost ceived food from him. lunches and Chicken & Biscuits, customers His generosity drew the dinners for up to can purchase safely pre-packattention of the local 190 people at aged staple entrees in grab-andnewspaper and the local shelters.” go hot cases or order for Southwest Chicago delivery through Postmates to Chamber of Comlimit contact. merce, which awarded him the “Community Champion” award for the month of April. In California, Ravi Chahal and wife, Harpreet, who franchise 7Eleven stores in Santa Maria and Arroyo Grande, volunteered to provide lunch to the local Salvation Army. On April 14, the ChaIn response to alarming evidence of hals prepared and served a home-cooked the continued disparate, negative imlunch to 180 people at the Santa Maria High pact of COVID-19, PepsiCo, Inc. and School shelter, and they had enough food its philanthropic arm, e PepsiCo le to provide dinner to 90 senior citizens Foundation, recently launched an iniat a mobile home park. ree days later, tiative to provide increased medical they did it again, this time serving 190 and economic aid to communities of lunches. e couple also donated snacks, color across the country where the drinks, gloves and hand sanitizer to local continued on page 22 law enforcement departments.

PepsiCo Helps Communities Hit By COVID-19

SEI Donates Lunches

To celebrate the recent grand opening of its newest location in Richmond, Virginia, “Dallas franchisee Raman Saini SEI donated eached out to help doctors and lunches to veternurses on the front lines of the ans and healthpandemic, delivering 100 7-Eleven care workers of pizzas three times a week, using the Central Virthe ovens in all four of his stores.” ginia VA Health-

“PepsiCo, Inc. and its philanthropic arm, e PepsiCo Foundation, recently launched an initiative to provide increased medical and economic aid to communities of color across the country where the company has long worked.” AVA N TI M AY | J U N E 2 0 2 0


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NCASEF Holds First Virtual Board Meeting 2020 Convention Postponed/To Be Rescheduled The National Coalition of Associations of 7-Eleven Franchisees hit a milestone June 17 with its first virtual Board meeting. Held via Zoom, the meeting drew approximately 55 participants, with approximately 37 out of 42 FOAs represented. All FOA presidents were invited, and in many cases, FOA presidents and vice presidents shared spaces so that both could attend the meeting. The meeting, scheduled for four hours, actually ran for 8 hours as franchisee leaders had much to discuss. The Board’s May meeting, scheduled for May 13-14, in Hauppague, Long Island, was canceled due to the pandemic. The last full meeting of the Board was held February 10-13 in Dallas. The National Coalition’s 2020 Convention, originally scheduled for August 10-13, at the Gaylord Hotel in National Harbor, Washington, D.C., has been postponed, with rescheduling plans possible. NCASEF’s August 9-10 Board of Directors Meeting coinciding with the convention is postponed also, likely to be replaced by a virtual event.

at an annualized rate of 5 percent in the first quarter of the year, reported MSN Money. The first quarter’s economic numbers included two months of normal growth followed by a devastating March, as the coronavirus pandemic took hold and lockdowns across the country slowed commerce to a trickle. • The Aunt Jemima syrup and pancake mix will get a new name and image, Quaker Oats announced recently, saying the company recognizes that, “Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” reported NBC News. The 130-year-old brand features a Black woman named Aunt Jemima, who was originally dressed as a minstrel character. • When a sari-sari storeowner named Evelyn decided to have some fun and name her shop in the Philippines “7-Evelyn”—complete with the 7-Eleven brand colors and a twist on its logo—it became a viral hit on the internet in Southeast Asia, reported Business News Philippines. However, the real 7Eleven was not happy about the viral post and asked Evelyn to replace the signage. • PepsiCo recently launched two ecommerce websites—PantryShop.com and Snacks.com—that provide direct-to-consumer options for its dozens of packaged goods brands, reported Ad Week. With consumers turning to online ordering during the Covid-19 pandemic, PepsiCo said it wanted to offer shoppers another alternative for easy and fast access to their products. • Supermarket chain Kroger recently announced that it has partnered with its dairy cooperative suppliers and farmers across the Midwest and South to process and donate about 200,000 gallons of additional milk to Feeding America food banks and community organizations through the end of August. Dairy farmers across America have been forced to dump milk due to lower demand due to the coronavirus. • The COVID-19 crisis continued to drive global eCommerce sales in April, with the general retail sector experiencing 209 percent growth compared to the same period last year, according to an analysis by ACI continued on page 38


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company has long worked. e $7 million initiative is a comprehensive project to support immediate relief and long-term recovery, the company stated in a press release. e program will provide $1 million each to the National Urban League and UnidosUS to help feed families and seniors, increase medical care and testing, expand access to government support and provide technology for remote education and work, with a portion of the funds focused on post-recovery relief. An additional $5 million will go to local nonprofit partners to provide support and services that meet the specific needs of Black and Latino communities, including: COVID19 testing and screening; access to affordable nutrition; healthcare services; education, job training and business resources; economic and childcare assistance; and family and senior housing.

e PepsiCo Foundation is also providing a $100,000 grant to the Farmworkers Pandemic Relief Fund, providing critical emergency assistance to America’s farmworkers who are supporting our food supply during the pandemic, many of whom are vulnerable.

Florida 7-Elevens Give Free Lunches In an effort to show appreciation to healthcare workers and first responders, more than 800 7-Eleven locations throughout Florida provided them with free lunch on May 7, reported e Destin

Join Your Local Franchise Owner’s Association Today! The best way to stay informed of the latest changes and challenges to our 7-Eleven system—and the convenience industry, in general—is to join your local Franchise Owner’s Association. FOAs help franchisees share ideas and concerns, and allow us to approach “None of us is as great our franchisor and vendor as all of us together.” partners with a unified voice. Becoming an FOA member also makes you a member of the National Coalition, which consists of all 41 FOAs nationwide. To join your local organization, contact the FOA president closest to you, or follow the instructions below to fill out an online membership form. If you cannot find the FOA closest to you, contact nationaloffice@ncasef.com for more information. We welcome your participation!


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Log. Participating stores displayed flyers in their windows. Healthcare workers and first responders were able to choose either a Big Bite Hot Dog or two Taquitos and their choice of a Big Gulp, Slurpee, or a coffee beverage. All meals were also served with potato wedges. Also, starting at 11 a.m. participating locations took a minute to applaud and honor their tireless efforts during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the article, this celebration was inspired by a franchisee who wanted to recognize the first responders and healthcare workers in his community, which included his brother. continued on page 56

How do I join an FOA? 1. Log in to 7 Help using 7 Hub (secured) in-store or using this link https://7elevenna.service now.com/ from any external device. 2. In the search bar type “FOA.” 3. Select the popup suggestion “FOA/PAC: FRANCHISE OWNERS ASSOCIATION.” 4. Type “NONE” in the “Current FOA” box if you are joining an FOA for the first time or you are not a member of any other FOA. 5 Type in the full name of the FOA that you wish to join (No abbreviation) in the “Future FOA” box. 6. Type in the amount of monthly dues as instructed per local FOA. 7. Type “Please enroll (store number) as a member of (name of the local) FOA.” 8. Repeat Step 7. 9. Press the green submit icon.

Legislative Update Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act Signed By Trump President Donald Trump recently signed into law the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, which triples the time allotted for small businesses and other PPP loan recipients to spend the funds and still qualify for forgiveness of the loans, reported the Journal of Accountancy. Among the key provisions is a change in the threshold for the amount of PPP funds required to be spent on payroll costs to qualify for forgiveness on up to 60 percent of the loan amount. Some of the legislation’s main points include: ● Current PPP borrowers can choose to extend the eight-week period to “PRESIDENT DONALD 24 weeks, or they can keep the origiTRUMP RECENTLY nal eight-week period. New PPP SIGNED INTO LAW THE borrowers will have a 24-week covPAYCHECK PROTECTION ered period, but the covered period FLEXIBILITY ACT, can’t extend beyond December 31, WHICH TRIPLES THE 2020. is flexibility is designed to TIME ALLOTTED FOR make it easier for more borrowers to SMALL BUSINESSES reach full, or almost full, forgiveness. AND OTHER PPP LOAN ● Borrowers can use the 24-week period RECIPIENTS TO SPEND to restore their workforce levels and THE FUNDS AND wages to the pre-pandemic levels reSTILL QUALIFY FOR quired for full forgiveness. is must FORGIVENESS OF THE be done by December 31, a change LOANS.” from the previous deadline of June 30. ● e legislation includes two new exceptions allowing borrowers to achieve full PPP loan forgiveness even if they don’t fully restore their workforce—it allows borrowers to adjust because they could not find qualified employees or were unable to restore business operations to February 15, 2020 levels due to COVID-19 related operating restrictions. ● New borrowers now have five years to repay the loan instead of two. Existing PPP loans can be extended up to five years if the lender and borrower agree. e interest rate remains at 1 percent. ● e new law allows businesses that took a PPP loan to also delay payment of their payroll taxes, which was prohibited under the CARES Act. 24

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C-Stores Seek Liability Protections


e U.S. Senate heard from the convenience and fuel retailing industry on May 12 as legislation develops that would provide liability protections for businesses from claims related to COVID-19 exposure, reported NACS Daily News. NACS Treasurer Kevin Smartt, who is the CEO and president of Kwik Chek Food Stores, testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that examined liability during the COVID-19 pandemic on behalf of NACS and its members. Smartt shared with committee members that one of the top issues facing the convenience retail industry during the pandemic is the threat of unfounded lawsuits against retailers alleging that someone contracted COVID-19 on their premises. Smartt encouraged Congress to pass legislation—supported by a NACS-led coalition of associations—that protects essential businesses against unwarranted liability and takes into consideration the following principles: ● Protecting essential businesses that were asked to keep operating to serve their communities and first responders. ● Protecting against claims that the virus was contracted by a customer or employee on the premises or due to the continued operation of an essential business. ● Ensuring the protections cover employers that take precautions. ● Tailoring liability protections to cover businesses who have been responsible and not those who have been bad actors. ● Separating any questions of compensation for people who get sick from the question of whether and when businesses should be liable. ● Limiting the duration of these protections so that they apply to situations arising out of the current crisis but are not permanent changes to liability laws.

Federal Lawmakers Propose Essential Workers Fund Senate Democrats recently introduced legislation that would compensate essential workers who became ill or died from continued next page

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Legislative Update tacks. A version of the legislation COVID-19 while performing had been introduced in the House. their services, reported Transport Topics News. e “Pandemic Heroes Compensation Act” would establish a fund for those who NACS Urges Support Of AG CHAIN Act qualify, which includes healthcare workers, first responders, convenience and grocery store employees, restaurant workers, and NACS is asking c-store owners across the country to reach delivery drivers. A summary detailing the bill’s provisions indiout to their members of Congress through the association’s online cated that funds would be appropriated for five years, as needed, Grassroots Portal, and encourage them to co-sponsor H.R. 6841, to assist with medical costs, loss of employment or business, and the “Assistance and Gratitude for Coronavirus Heroes in burial costs. Also a website would be set up to facilitate with the Agribusiness Who Are Invaluable to the Nation” (AG CHAIN) application process. Act. e AG CHAIN Act would exempt the wages earned by e legislation has not been scheduled for debate on the floor frontline employees in the agriculture and foodservice supply of the Senate by Republican leaders, the article states. e bill was chain, including convenience stores, from federal income and modeled aer a federal payroll taxes during the period fund for individucovering February 15, 2020, to June “THE FEDERAL PROPOSAL FOR AN ESSENTIAL WORKERS als whose health 15, 2020. e income tax exclusion FUND, AND HR 6841, THE ‘ASSISTANCE AND GRATITUDE FOR was affected by the would be capped at $25,000 for the CORONAVIRUS HEROES IN AGRIBUSINESS WHO ARE INVALUresponse to the covered four-month period and a proABLE TO THE NATION’ ACT, ARE TWO MEASURES INTENDED TO September 11 atcontinued next page


Sign Up For The Dispatch Newsletter! Sign up today to receive Dispatch, the NCASEF’s email newsletter that keeps you up to date on the latest 7-Eleven news and announcements from national leadership. With all the changes and challenges happening within our system, the Dispatch newsletter serves as a direct line of communication between the National Coalition and the franchisee community. Receive urgent information, alerts, and reports directly from national leadership as it happens.

Head over to www.NCASEF.com and click on the Subscribe to Our Newsletter button on the upper right column of the homepage. Then fill out the form to be placed on the Dispatch email list. AVA N TI M AY | J U N E 2 0 2 0


Legislative Update rated amount if extended. e payroll exclusion is limited to employees making less than $75,000 per year. NACS said this legislation could provide an immediate increase in take-home pay for these essential workers, in addition to what many in the convenience industry have already done to bolster pay for these frontline workers.

Massachusetts Menthol Ban Now Effective

is similarly postponed. e FDA has updated the small entity compliance guide and the “Submission of Plans for Cigarette Packages and Cigarette Advertisements” guidance to include the rule’s new effective date and recommended timing for submission of cigarette plans.

Massachusetts C-store Alcohol Sales Up For Vote

e Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court A statewide ban on recently ruled that voters this fall will get to de“MASSACHUSETTS BECAME THE FIRST the sale of flavored tocide whether to give all food stores the right to STATE TO BAN THE SALE OF ALL FLAVORED bacco products in Massaget a license to sell beer and wine, through a TOBACCO PRODUCTS AND MENTHOL, chusetts, which includes ballot question proposed by convenience store INCLUDING MENTHOL CIGARETTES AND menthol cigarettes, took chain Cumberland Farms, reported UniversalFLAVORED E-CIGARETTES, CIGARS, PIPE effect on June 1, reported Hub.com. e proposal would eliminate the curTOBACCO AND CHEWING TOBACCO.” WBUR. Massachusetts rent limits on how many beer-and-wine licenses became the first state to each city and town can issue, at least for food approve such a ban when Republican Governor Charlie Baker stores and—crucial to Cumberland Farms, which has the maxisigned the bill in November. e law applies to the sale of all fla- mum seven licenses allowed by current state law—eliminate vored tobacco products in Massachusetts retail stores and onthe total number of beer-and-wine licenses any one person or line. It specifically restricts the sale of the products to licensed company can own, as well as increase the total number of lismoking bars, such as cigar bars and hookah lounges, where censes one could own to sell hard liquor. It would also mandate they'll only be allowed to be consumed on-site. e restriction the use of computerized license scanners to try to keep minors extends to menthol cigarettes and flavored e-cigarettes, cigars, from buying alcoholic beverages and would create a fund to be pipe tobacco and chewing tobacco. Anti-smoking groups hailed used by the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission to enthe ban, while convenience stores were among those who opforce the new measure, specifically to hire at least one investiposed the law. gator for every 250 of the new licenses cumulatively approved

Cigarette Warning Labels Postponed Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its disruptive impacts on both regulated industry and government, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has postponed the effective date of the “Required Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Advertisements” final rule by 120 days, reported NACS Daily News. e new effective date is October 16, 2021. Pursuant to the court order, any obligation to comply with a deadline tied to the effective date


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by cities and towns.

Colorado Bill To Place Cigarette Tax Increase On Ballot Democrats in the Colorado Legislature recently introduced an 11th-hour bill that seeks to ask voters in November to raise taxes on cigarettes, reported e Colorado Sun. House Bill 1427 would ask voters to gradually—but significantly—raise the taxes over the next seven fiscal years. Whereas taxes on a pack of cigarettes are now 84 cents, the bill would ask voters to allow the state to raise that amount to $1.94 starting next year. Starting in July 2024, taxes on a pack of cigarettes would then rise to $2.24 a pack. en in July 2027 and moving forward, the taxes would be $2.64 a pack.

SEI’s Gas Pricing Strategy BY JAY SINGH, CHAIRMAN, NCASEF, PRESIDENT, SAN ANTONIO FOA Over the last eight to ten years 7Eleven has made a concentrated effort to acquire gas stores, and in some cases, wholesale gas distribution resources, which make it look more like a gas company than a convenience store company. Still, today franchisees are plagued by an uncertain and at times illogical gas strategy that barely covers our costs to service the gas islands and cover our registers. The conversion started with the 2010 acquisition of 180 or so gas stores from Exxon Mobil in Florida, then the 2012 acquisition of 163 stores in Utah, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio, and an entry into the wholesale fuel business via the acquisition of the assets of TETCO, whose motor fuel wholesale dealer business included some 500 customers. SEI rebranded those stores and turned TETCO into SEI Fuel Services, which currently operates in 22 states. It continued with the 2012 acquisition of 67 EZ Energy stores in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and 58 Handee Marts Inc. stores (38 with gas) in West Virginia and Maryland, and the 2013 acquisition of 143 Speedy Stop and Tigermart retail locations from C.L. Thomas, in Victoria Texas. The C.L. Thomas acquisition also included gasoline distribution to approximately 150 dealer-operated sites. Then in 2018 7-Eleven completed the largest acquisition in the history of the company with its purchase of 1,030 Sunoco stores (all with gas) for some $3.3 billion. The majority of these stores have been converted to the 7-Eleven brand, but have kept the branded Sunoco gasoline. Earlier this year 7-Eleven announced the completion of a deal to acquire more than 100 7-Eleven-branded Oklahoma convenience stores (the majority with gas) that had been independently operated since 1953. Then, as recently as February 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 panJAY SINGH CAN BE REACHED AT demic, 7-Eleven’s par702-249-3301 OR ent company, Seven JAYS@NCASEF.COM & i Holdings, was re-

ported to have been in talks to acquire some 4,000 stores from Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s Speedway gas-station division, a deal that has since been shelved. All of this adds up to 4,385 7-Eleven stores with gas, approximately 46 percent of the total, which would seem to be beneficial to franchisees. Unfortunately, more than a decade ago 7-Eleven changed their gas policy from a 25 percent commission on sales to a straight commission of 1.5 cents per gallon for the franchisee, and now we suffer from a confusing and unrealistic gas pricing strategy that not only hurts sales outside the store, but affects inside sales as well. our gas prices to the levels recommended by 7-Eleven. Normally, there are two or three stores listed on the competitors pricing screen that are within a one- to two-mile radius of the franchisee’s store, and the screen shows their pricing. One would think that we would want to match competitors’ prices, but this is not the case. It depends on the area and the 7-Eleven gas guru setting the prices, but our 7-Eleven gas prices are usually 4-5 cents higher than our competitors’. Every morning our store clerks are required to do a survey too, of nearby stores, and to record these prices on the competitor screen. If the competition across the street raises or lowers their

SEI’s control over the pricing of gasoline has created a built-in conflict of interest. SEI’s bottom line is best served by maximizing its profit at the pump, and the franchisee’s bottom line is best served by maximizing merchandise sales and gross margin. A study presented to franchisees by 7- “Today, franchisees suffer from a confusing Eleven, Inc. says that gas stores average 10 and unrealistic gas pricing strategy that to 15 percent more in not only hurts sales outside the store, but sales than non-gas stores. Part of the rea- affects inside sales as well.” son for this is that the big gas signs, especially the digital ones, prices, 7-Eleven wants to know. Again, it act like giant billboards and bring cus- varies from area to area, but most of the time our competitors’ prices are ignored tomers through the door. On 7Hub there is a page that fran- and we remain priced above them. Once the 7-Eleven recommended chisees must go to and check gas prices twice daily—after 10 am and after 1 prices are loaded at 10 am, stores have no pm—every single day. We must then set choice but to follow those prices. If it is a

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non-integrated store, with a branded gasoline like Exxon, Mobil or Shell, we have to change the prices daily on both our Nucleus register and our Passport register. Because this is a continuous problem, we talk about this issue to our FCs, our market managers, and sometimes, upper management, but our requests to match competitors’ prices are being ignored, and they say they have no control over it. Many times franchisees have 3-4 competing stores on corners near their stores, and the 7-Eleven is the highest priced. It is little wonder that SEI’s retail gross margin on gasoline has been steadily climbing, from 19.8 cents in 2015, to 22.62 cents in 2017, to 23.95 cents in 2019. When gas prices are higher than the competition, it is not only the gas sales that are hurt, but inside sales hurt, too. There is a strong correlation between gas pricing and bringing customers inside the store. That big billboard outside can also drive customers away who are looking for the best pricing on gas. Still, at 1.5

cents per gallon commission, franchisees are more concerned about inside sales for our gross profit split. Sometimes the competition next door is ignored on the competitors’ pricing screen, and stores maybe a mile or two miles away are being matched to that store. Franchisees get frustrated because we feel that most of the time, the person in charge of fuel pricing has no idea about our competition. They are sitting in their office, many miles away, doing the math, and crunching the numbers, and they are ignoring franchisee requests to match next-door pricing. With 7-Eleven turning into a big time gas company, and SEI Fuel Services expanding beyond just 7-Eleven, franchisees are worried about all these factors, and we believe that some kind of stable, solid gas pricing strategy should be implemented.

Our pricing should not be hit and run. In certain areas where management believes 7-Eleven is the gas price leader, the company might raise prices from 15 to 25 cents, and hold that pricing for 48 to 72 hours. If competition does not raise their prices to match, 7-Eleven will bring their price down, but for those 48-72 hours the franchisee’s inside sales suffer, and at 1.5 cents per gallon commission, we do not make it up at the pump. The more our prices are controlled by headquarters, or automatic price changes, the more franchisees’ sales suffer, both inside and out. As 7-Eleven grows by acquisition of gas stores, the more critical it becomes for us to be price matching with the competition, because those big billboards may bring people in, but they can also be responsible for sending our customers to the competition.

“It is critical for us to be price matching with the competition, because those big billboards may bring people in, but they can also be responsible for sending our customers to the competition.”

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One of the main selling points used by 7-Eleven for many years, and highlighted in franchising materials, is the gross profit split model. The sharing of merchandise gross profit is still very unique, as many franchise models take a royalty as a percent of total sales. At one point, not that long ago, the 7Eleven franchising website stated, “Most franchisors take royalties on sales, but 7Eleven has a different kind of business model. We share profits with our franchise owners, so we really are invested!” In the past, this model worked very well for the 7Eleven system and many of its franchisees. Over the course of several years, SEI has spread their focus from inside the store to a much wider area. Gas is just one example. In 2009 only 24 percent of stores sold gas, and gas accounted for a smaller percentage of SEI’s revenue. Flash forward to 2019, where 46 percent of 7-Eleven stores are selling gas, and gas accounts for more revenue than merchandise. With such a large store network, serving millions of customers daily, there are endless opportunities to expand business. It is a brilliant approach. But this much broader focus on all the ways to harness new profit opportunities comes at a cost to franchisees. Yes, SEI still operates corporate stores, and yes they still rely on the merchandise gross profit we split, but franchisees count on this as their only significant source of revenue. As SEI grows their revenue in other areas outside of merchandise gross profit, they move further away from where their franchisees make their money. And the further away you are from someone or something, the harder it is—or they are—to understand. Franchisees signed their franchise agreements believing that SEI was looking out for their best interests. In my mind, the store is the heart of 7-Eleven’s business, and is at the very core of everything else that happens. Therefore, the financial health of the store is crucial to the ongoing success of the

company. All of the planning in the world will only be as good as the information or intelligence that was used to create the plan, and will ultimately be dependent upon the acceptance, understanding and capability of the team executing it at the stores. This planning includes revenue-generating and costsaving measures, as well. Over the years, SEI has outsourced maintenance, shifted the responsibility for insurance and payroll to franchisees, changed the various call support centers, and has continued to change the structure at the store support center and in the Zones. As SEI has moved to usurp revenue streams from franchisees and simultaneously divest itself of non-revenue producing services (payroll, insurance, etc.) they have created what economists refer to as an imperfect

market. An imperfect market is one in which the buyer/user cannot impact service criteria or price. Classic examples are prescription drugs or college textbooks where the doctor/professor selects the product to be used but they do not use or pay for the product. In many cases those selecting the product/service receive a direct benefit from

“With such a large store network, serving millions of customers daily, there are endless opportunities to expand business, but this much broader focus on new profit opportunities comes at a cost to franchisees.” the chosen supplier, i.e. the professor selects his own book or the doctor receives a gift from the drug company rep. The more imperfect a market becomes, the more out of balance supply and demand become. This model is the road to ruin. That is why we need collaboration when SEI creates or buys services that franchisees primarily pay for. The NBLC/RT contains only a few subject matter experts, but these folks do exist in numbers in the system. We are seeking the opportunity to tap these folks when decisions are made that impact store level costs and services. If the NBLC/RT remains an uninformed rubber stamp, we will exacerbate the distance between franchisees and franchisor. Not that long ago, prior to the formation of the FAC and the 2019 agreement, a “holistic approach” was promoted. The idea was to share information and financials, and work to find a balance that benefits SEI and franchisees. There is no argument about who owns the Brand and system, but it’s only fair that franchisees reap what they have helped to sow through our investments of money, time, and sweat that come with continuing to support and grow the continued on page 34

“As SEI grows their revenue in areas outside of merchandise gross profit, they move further away from where their franchisees make their money.” AVA N TI M AY | J U N E 2 0 2 0


The Big Disconnect Brand. There should be a clear understanding of what the future plans are, how they include us and how we win when we drive the desired results. We do not need policies that can change arbitrarily, or short term incentives that come and go, but clearly defined contract terms—ones that work for both parties or allow us to seek adjustments when they fall out of balance or become unreasonable, and that speak to sustainability for the entire system.

“The store is the heart of 7-Eleven’s business and is at the very core of everything else that happens. Therefore, the financial health of the store is crucial to the ongoing success of the company.”


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SEI needs to move closer into alignment with their franchisees so they can understand our main issues and accept the same liability as us, truly being in the same predicament as their franchisees and at the same time share openly when they need our help. One of the reasons we are in this current dilemma is because they’ve moved further away from us. To be truly successful, we need to experience things together. Two recurring themes in many of my articles have been trust and transparency. We want to roll up our sleeves and work to find solutions to problems before we know they exist, but in order to do this we must first acknowledge the problems. But we do not think these are problems we cannot overcome. SEI and franchisees need to look at what is separating us and work to align our financials and goals so both sides are feeling the same pressures and we can better understand the full picture. Franchisees should not have concerns or uncertainty about their ability to weather future eco-

nomic instability and their financial viability because of one-sided agreement terms. At the same time it is important that SEI is financially fit to continue to support franchisees and drive the Brand forward, continuing to innovate and evolve, keeping us relative into the future. We need to go back to the partnership that made us what we are today. A Brand where every store is a Lab store. We can solve the problems we have, but we need to be open and honest and acknowledge where we are, and where we are headed, and exactly what it’s going to entail to get us there. As I mentioned before, the store is the heart of 7-Eleven’s business and it’s at the very core of everything else that happens. Having happy, healthy, aligned, engaged and informed franchisees will make the heart beat much stronger!




If, on June 16, 2015, you had invested $1,000 in the stock of Seven & i Holdings Company, the parent company of your franchisor, five years later, the value of your investment would have fallen by more than 18 percent and would thus be worth about $817. If, on the contrary, you had invested that same $1,000 in an index fund based on the S&P 500, your investment would have risen by more than 47 percent and would be worth about $1,476. That amounts to a total lost opportunity of 66 percent of your original investment. Conversely, Seven & i’s prized subsidiary, 7-Eleven, Inc. continues to rack up impressive gains in profitability, many would argue, at the expense of its franchisees. In an April 9, 2020 publication for its investors, the parent company touted the run-up in operating income of SEI, rising from $275 million in 2007 to $1.115 billion in fiscal year 2020, more than a 400 percent increase. SEI’s gasoline business generated sales of $18.3 billion in 2019,

In April 2020, Moody’s Investors Service issued an an“Seven & i’s prized subsidiary, 7-Eleven, nouncement regarding its ratings Inc. continues to rack up impressive review of 7-Eleven, Inc. It cited what it characterized as tangible, gains in profitability, many would argue, strong and significant support at the expense of its franchisees.” from its parent for its acquisitionbased growth strategy, its guaranty of the commercial paper program, its guaranty of a $900 million loan to finance the Sunoco acquisition, and the conversion of $300 million of debt to equity. It also specifically mentions the election of Joe DePinto to the parent company Board of Directors as additional evidence investments in 7-Eleven, Inc.? Third, why for that support. The parent company’s confidence in should franchisees care? First, we are not stock market progSEI was further reflected in the February 2020 announcement that it was in exclu- nosticators, but the performance of the sive talks with Marathon Petroleum to ac- parent company’s stock must clearly be a quire its 3,900 convenience store chain disappointment to its owners. While operating under the Speedway banner for Seven & i reports that it has five major operating companies, the convenience store business is the engine that runs the “In an April 9, 2020 publication for its investors, the parent company. The non-convenience store entities contributed less than 6 percent of its company touted the run-up in operating income of SEI, operating income last year. And on June rising from $275 million in 2007 to $1.115 billion in fiscal 20, we noted that Seven & i was trading year 2020, more than a 400 percent increase.” at about 15 times earnings, while the S&P 500 was at 22 times and the Nikkei Index yielding a substantial increase in its retail a reported price of $22 billion. However, was trading at 26 times earnings. Second, the parent company’s stated exmargin per gallon, which year-over-year within a month, and likely due to conrose from 22.82 to 24.09 cents per gallon. cerns regarding the COVID-19 pan- pansion goals within the United States and its demonstrated commitment to devote For perspective, SEI’s retail cents per gal- demic, those talks ended. lon in 2015 was 19.8. SEI’s total gasoline This raises three important questions truly enormous amounts of capital in furgross profit in 2019 was up 7 percent over for franchisees of SEI. First, why has the therance of that plan is driven by SEI’s conthe previous year. value of the parent company in the eyes tribution to the bottom line of its parent of investors not kept pace with its earn- company. In fiscal 2020, SEI’s operating inERIC H. KARP ings in particular and the stock market in come measured in yen increased by 10.5 perCAN BE REACHED AT general? Second, why does the parent cent, compared to an 8.8 percent increase for 617-423-7250 or ekarp@wkwrlaw.com company continue to make substantial continued on page 38 AVA N TI M AY | J U N E 2 0 2 0


Follow The Money continued from page 37

sions. For those inclined to read “While Seven & i reports that it has five major operating them, there are and companies, the convenience store business is the engine reams reams of inforthat runs the company. Yet on June 20, we noted that mation availSeven & i was trading at about 15 times earnings, while able regarding revenue, profit, the S&P 500 was at 22 times and the Nikkei Index was return on intrading at 26 times earnings.” vestment, dividend yields, and Seven-Eleven Japan. And looking even the like for the franchisors of the convendeeper, in the same fiscal year, SEI accounted ience store units within this conglomerate. for 14.6 percent of sales to customers in the Franchisees know that there is a long entire enterprise but it contributed fully 24 list of actions taken in Dallas over the last percent of the operating income for the year. many years which transferred costs and exThe importance of this outsized influence penses from SEI to the franchisee’s bottom that SEI yields in the business of its parent line. A nonexclusive list would include cannot be underestimated. As franchisees credit card fees, maintenance on SEI-owned wonder why the decisions implemented in equipment, insurance coverages, payroll Dallas, which create so much unhappiness processing costs, and the elevated labor and anxiety within the franchisee commu- costs associated with fresh food and hot nity, seem to create so little concern in Tokyo, food. On top of all that is the loss of rental the answer is that the U.S. operations are like income, the graduated gross profit split, and an ATM to them and as long as the money what we have come to call the graduated keeps flowing, they believe that they have no gross profit split on steroids. reason to be concerned. Franchising is often seen as a zeroThird, one notices in studying the pub- sum game. The conflict between franchisor lic filings of Seven & i the conspicuous ab- and franchisee is often between who gets sence of any analysis of store level what piece of the fixed pie. SEI can conprofitability. In fact, tinue to make parent the National Coalition “SEI accounted for 14.6 company management raised with SEI the fact happy by increasing that its franchise dis- percent of sales to cash flow available to closure document pre- customers in the entire owners, with the parsentations of ent company hoping franchisee profitability SEJ enterprise, but it that at some point inwere misleading and contributed fully 24 vestors take their earnincomplete. When SEI more seriously. percent of the operating ings declined to make any And the way to do that changes, the National income for the year.” is not only to increase Coalition brought your footprint and these matters to the attention of federal and market share through acquisitions, but also state franchise regulators. SEI’s response to grab bigger and bigger slices of that pie. was not to change its disclosures to make There is no other path available to them. them more complete and useful to the And that’s why every franchisee should prospective franchisee, but rather to retreat care not only about the policies, practices and restrict their disclosures to top line and initiatives with SEI, but how your fransales, gross margins and gasoline commis- chisor fits into the overall picture. 38

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Worldwide. Following general retail, the online gaming segment saw the biggest bump, up 126 percent in April. • ExxonMobil recently announced that it has reconfigured manufacturing operations in Louisiana to produce medical-grade hand sanitizer for donation to COVID-19 response efforts in Louisiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. The company said additional donation locations are planned. • CoreMark International has donated delivery services to Arkansas Foodbank, helping to ensure that much-needed frozen and other perishable items are getting to the state’s residents who need them the most during the COVID-19 pandemic, reported CStore Decisions. • Nearly 60 percent of employees at the Tyson Fresh Meats pork plant in Perry, Iowa, have tested positive for coronavirus, making it one of the hardest-hit meat plants in the U.S., reported Fox Business. The plant was sanitized in late April and has since resumed operations. • Due to a lack of employees at its chicken processing plants because of COVID-19, Delmarva Poultry Industry Inc. said two million chickens on several farms in Delaware and Maryland have been humanely killed. • White Castle recently celebrated grocery store and retail food workers—the frontline heroes feeding America’s Communities—with a special 20 percent discount on their order, from May 20 through June 15. • AMC, the world’s largest movie theater chain, recently said it has “substantial doubt” it can remain in business after shuttering all of its locations during the coronavirus pandemic, reported CNBC. The theater chain worries that distributors will continue to push back new film releases, hurting operations further. • McLane Company, Inc. recently announced that they have renewed their multi-year contract with national convenience store retailer EG America. • Dunkin’ recently announced that 100 percent of its restaurants globally have transitioned from polystyrene foam cups to doublecontinued on page 46

Legal Guest Column

NAVIGATING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC: NCASEF Educational Webinars For Franchisees Round 2 By Rob Bernstein, Esq., Partner, Laner Muchin, Ltd.

On April 23 and April 28, 2020, as NCASEF’s Labor and Employment attorney, I conducted a second round of webinars for franchisees surrounding best practices to protect their 7-Eleven businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This time around the webinars focused on a detailed discussion of the steps that should be taken to ensure proper completion of the Employee Request and Employer Response FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act) Forms that have been sent out to all franchisees, and the importance of obtaining supporting documentation from employees for their leave requests under the FFCRA.


can be required to follow reasonable notice procedures only after the first day of the leave. Notice from the employee may be oral and need only provide the franchisee with enough information to determine whether the requested leave is covered by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave or Expanded Family Medical Leave aspects of the FFCRA. Notice may be provided by an employee’s spokesperson (e.g., spouse, adult, family member, or other responsible party). Franchisees should also note that even if an employee fails to provide oral notice, the franchisee may only bring the failure to provide such notice to the employee’s attention and must still provide the employee an opportunity to provide the required supporting FFCRA documentation prior to denying an employee’s leave request.

As a reminder, the FFCRA went into effect on April 1, 2020 and its requirements will expire on December 31, 2020. The FFCRA applies to private sector employers with fewer than “Our second round of webinars focused on the 500 employees, which is the proper completion of the Employee Request vast majority of our franchisee and Employer Response FFCRA (Families First population. Coronavirus Response Act) Forms sent out to


of all documentation as it relates to each employee’s leave request under the FFCRA. These records include the Employee Request and Employer Response FFCRA Forms that have been distributed to all franchisees. In the April 23 and 28 webinars, I walked franchisees through the steps that should be taken to ensure proper completion of the Employee Request and Employer Response FFCRA Forms. In any instance where the franchisee is put on notice by an employee or an em-

all franchisees, and the importance of obtaining supporting documentation from employees for their leave requests under the FFCRA.”

Our first webinar topic was whether or not advance notice by an employee is required for the employee to take FFCRA leave. I discussed how advance notice is required only when the need for leave is to care for a child due to a school closure, or child care provider unavailability, and is foreseeable by the employee (Qualifying Reason No. 5). The employee must give such notice to the franchisee as soon as practicable. Advance notice cannot be required for leave for any other FFCRA qualifying reason (Qualifying Reasons Nos. 1 through 4 and 6). Instead, an employee

A DEEPER DIVE INTO THE FFCRA EMPLOYEE REQUEST AND EMPLOYER RESPONSE FORMS AND SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION In previous webinars, I emphasized that franchisees must keep careful records

ployee’s spokesperson that the employee may satisfy one of the six qualifying reasons to take FFCRA leave, the franchisee should promptly give the Employee Request Form to the employee for the employee to complete. The crux of the Employee Request Form is that the emcontinued on page 42

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ployee must notify the franchisee of the starting and ending dates of his/her requested FFCRA leave and the employee’s asserted qualifying reason for the leave (employees are asked on the Form to state which of the six Qualifying Reasons apply to their leave request). At the end of the Form, the employee must sign off and date the Form, certifying that the information on the Form is true and correct to the best of his/her knowledge and acknowledging that they further understand that any false statement may result in disciplinary action, including termination of employment. Franchisees should note that before taking disciplinary action or terminating an employee as it relates to their completion of the Employee Request Form, I strongly encourage the franchisee to contact me or one of the members of my team to discuss the situation first.

SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION FOR THE EMPLOYEE’S FFCRA LEAVE I next discussed how it is important for the franchisees, at the same time they give the employee the Employee Request Form to complete, to request that the employee provide supporting documentation for their FFCRA leave request (assuming the employee has not already given the franchisee such documentation). Depending on the reason for which the employee is seeking to take FFCRA leave, the type of supporting documentation will vary. To assist the franchisees (and employees), the type of supporting documentation that an employee needs to provide is set forth under each respective Qualifying Reason on the Employee Request Form. I went through the different types of supporting documentation that the franchisees should require employees to provide to support their requests for FFCRA leave. For Qualifying Reason No. 1 on the Employee Request Form, the employee needs to provide a copy of the order requir-

ing the quarantine and/or isolation order related to COVID-19. For Qualifying Reason No. 2 on the Form, the employee must provide a doctor’s note or medical documentation requiring the employee to quarantine and/or isolate for COVID-19 related concerns. For Qualifying Reason No. 3 on the Form, the employee must provide a copy of the doctor’s note or medical documentation to confirm that the employee sought treatment and/or a medical diagnosis for COVID-19 symptoms. For Qualifying Reason No. 4, the employee must provide a doctor’s note or governmental order for the impacted family member or other individual for whom the

“Advance notice for FFCRA leave is required only when the need for leave is to care for a child due to a school closure or child care provider unavailability and is foreseeable by the employee.”

email from an employee or official of the school, childcare facility, or regular childcare provider, reflecting the closure of the child’s school or childcare facility, or that the child’s regular childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19 reasons. And, finally, for Qualifying Reason No. 6, the employee must provide any and all supporting documentation so that the franchisee can make a reasonable determination as to the need for the leave. Please note that, at this juncture, there has not been clarification from the government as to what is meant by the “substantially similar condition as specified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services” terminology for Qualifying Reason No. 6. If any franchisee has a question as to whether an employee’s documentation is sufficient to support any of the qualifying reasons, or if a franchisee gets pushback from an employee regarding the production of the requested documentation, I once again strongly encourage the franchisee to contact me or a member of my team to discuss the situation to develop the most prudent approach.


employee is caring. For this Qualifying Reason No. 4 purpose, the term “other individual” means a roommate or a similar person with whom the employee has a relationship that creates an expectation that the employee would care for the person if the person were subject to a quarantine or isolation order. For Qualifying Reason No. 5, the employee must provide supporting documentation such as a notice that has been posted by the government, school or day care website, or published in a newspaper, or an

After the franchisee receives a sufficiently completed Employee Request Form and supporting documentation from the employee, the franchisee should promptly complete the Employer Response Form, notifying the employee whether their leave request has been approved or denied and the corresponding details pertaining to the employee’s leave (e.g., the starting and ending dates of the leave, the employee’s expected return to work date and how the employee will be paid during their leave). The franchisee should sign and date the Employer Response Form and send a copy of the completed and signed Form to the employee. Upon receipt, the employee should also sign off on the Form, certifying that they have received the Form, and return a fullyexecuted Form to the franchisee. continued next page


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THE NEED TO MAINTAIN APPROPRIATE DOCUMENTATION SUPPORTING EMPLOYEES’ FFCRA LEAVES We cannot overemphasize the importance for franchisees to keep copies of the completed Employee Request and Employer Response Forms and the supporting documentation for each employee FFCRA leave request in separate employee files (and if the Forms and/or supporting documentation contain medical information, in separate confidential medical files). Additionally, franchisees must keep documentation to show how they determined the amount of Emergency Paid Sick Leave and/or Expanded Family Medical Leave wages paid to employees eligible for the tax credit; documentation to show how the franchisee determined the amount of qualified health plan expenses allocated to wages paid (if applicable to the franchisee) in connection with the FFCRA leave requests; and copies of any completed quarterly federal employment tax returns (e.g., Form 941) and Form 7200 (Advance of Em-

“Franchisees should note that before taking disciplinary action or terminating an employee as it relates to their completion of the Employee Request Form, I strongly encourage the franchisee to contact me or one of the members of my team to discuss the situation first.” ployer Credits Due to COVID-19), and any other filings that the franchisee submitted to the IRS requesting the tax credit. In order to receive the tax credits for the wages they pay for their employees’ leaves under the FFCRA, franchisees must keep all of the previously mentioned documents and records for at least four years after the taxes become due. To read Rob Bernstein’s summary of his first set of seminars on Covid-19 for franchisees, see Avanti’s March/April, 2020 issue (page 45) at www.issuu.com/avantimag/docs or visit www.NCASEF.com (home page).

Laner Muchin Ltd. concentrates exclusively in the representation of employers in labor relations, employment litigation, employee benefits and business immigration matters. The firm provides legal services to clients from coast to coast. Rob Bernstein joined Laner Muchin in 1995 and has been a partner since 2003. His practice has been concentrated in defending employers in employment disputes and proceedings throughout the country, counseling employers on their day-to-day labor and employment issues, training management on a host of labor and employment topics, drafting and negotiating employment and non-competition agreements, drafting employee handbooks and corporate policy manuals, as well as handling collective bargaining negotiations, arbitrations, and a variety of other labor and employment matters on behalf of employers. If you have questions, or need guidance in responding to Covid-19 or other legal issues relating to labor, contact: PRACTICE AREAS


Labor Management Relations Private & Public Sector Employment Litigation

Rob Bernstein 515 North State Street Suite 2800 Chicago, IL 60654 312.467.9800 rbernstein@lanermuchin.com

For more information visit www.lanermuchin.com.

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Legal Guest Column

COVID-19 IN NEW YORK—AN UPDATE By Arnold Hauptman, General Counsel, UFOLI New York

New York State, and to a large extent essential businesses. In such an event many stores would totally New York City, Long Island, and the surrounding suburbs, have come a long way close, with others resorting to in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. limited hours. Unfortunately, regardless of But we are not home free, yet. In my last guest article in Avanti, I re- the strides New York State has ported that New York State experienced al- made somewhat mitigating the most 1,00 deaths from the virus on April effects of the virus, problems 10. Due to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s persist in many stores with relockdown orders, I am happy to report that spect to cleaning and/or staffing a little more than two months later, only 17 during nighttime hours. As a recumstances, if a franchisee determines that deaths were reported in June in the entire sult, as of this writing, approximately 70 his or her store should be closed or operstate. More good news is that less than 1 stores in the UFOLINY area remain closed ating under reduced hours to accommopercent of over 60,000 persons being tested during nighttime hours. date cleaning or because of short staffing, I have heard from a few franchisees every Store Agreement provides that under were positive for the virus. Still, the financial and emotional impact on our mem- that local management is pressuring these such circumstances, neither party will be bers in New York has been painful, limited-hour stores to resume 24/7 opera- liable to the other for damages and no mitigated somewhat by the PPP loans that tion despite continuing conditions that valid breach notices can be issued. Accordmake it unsafe or impossible to do so. In ingly, no franchisee should be pressured many have obtained. Long Island, Westchester and other response to an inquiry by Yousaf Naseer, into operating his or her store contrary to UFOLINY president, as to the health and safety of employees or cusnearby suburbs are in Phase whether or not those fran- tomers.” 2 of a reopening, while New “As of this chisees who have totally York City remains in Phase I note parenthetically that such preswriting, closed their stores or are sure may well lend support to the notion 1 of the goal of Phase 4 that operating with limited that franchisees are really employees under must be reached before a re- approximately hours can continue to do the control of 7-Eleven with respect to turn to full normalcy can be 70 stores in so, I replied: announced. No one knows day-to-day operational decisions, rather the UFOLINY “Of course, this is a busi- than independent contractors. when that will be. Could be ness decision that each years, according to the ex- area remain To add fuel to this fire, and to make franchisee must independ- operations by limited-hour stores even perts. In the meantime, so- closed during ently make. However, there worse, McLane has announced that all decial distancing, the wearing is no question that liveries will be made during nighttime of masks, and continued nighttime hours.” COVID-19 is still a very hours, refusing to accommodate these testing are still mandated. serious health and safety franchisees who are requesting the continFor sure, there is no state in the country that is totally free from threat, and will be for the foreseeable fu- uation of daytime deliveries to their stores. the pandemic and, as opposed to New ture—at least several more months, or continued on page 46 longer. York, some 20 states at this time are expe- even the “I have heard from a few franchisees riencing upward trends in infections, hos- Clearly, pitalizations, and deaths. What a shame. In virus is not that local management is pressuring limsome of these states—like Texas, Florida, within the conited-hour stores to resume 24/7 operation California, and others—7-Eleven stores are trol of either 7despite continuing conditions that make or a major presence. We are warned that even Eleven New York, if not careful, can suddenly and franchisees and, it unsafe or impossible to do so.” again find itself in a full lockdown for non- under such cirAVA N TI M AY | J U N E 2 0 2 0


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This issue is still not resolved and the UFOLINY Board has implored McLane to reconsider this very unreasonable and arbitrary decision, and has also reached out to SEI upper management to use its considerable influence to make certain that McLane honors the reasonable requests for such daytime deliveries to stores that are simply not open at night. This is another matter in which SEI should and must support its franchisees. I remain hopeful that the “silver lining” to this pandemic, which I referred to in my last article, will restore the communications and collaborations that SEI and franchisees enjoyed in the past.

“Every store Agreement provides that under such circumstances, neither party will be liable to the other for damages and no valid breach notices can be issued.” Stay safe, everyone. A new day must and will come.


AJHAUPTMAN@AOL.COM OR (516) 541-7200

“Closing overnight is a business decision that each franchisee must independently make. However, there is no question that COVID-19 is still a very serious health and safety threat, and will be for the foreseeable future—at least several more months, or even longer.”


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walled paper cups, meeting the timetable established by the brand two years ago. • The global unmanned convenience store market was valued US$ 67.48 million in 2019 and is expected to reach US$ 1,640.32 million by 2027 with a CAGR growth rate of 51.9 percent during the forecast period, reveals a new study by ResearchAndMarkets.com. • Convenience chain Cumberland Farms recently launched curbside pickup via its SmartPay Rewards app at all of its New Concept stores across Massachusetts. Available daily between the hours of 6:00 am-9:00 pm, customers can now order everyday essentials and hot food, to be delivered to their vehicle curbside or at the pump while they fill up on gas. • Record unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic led to the largest one-month increase in mortgage delinquencies ever continued on page 50

Vendor Guest Column

SAFETY AND HEALTH DURING THE ROAD TO RECOVERY John Harp, CSP, ARM—Risk Engineering Consultant, MSIG Insurance Group Almost two months ago we thought the pandemic would be winding down to the point of normalcy as the 100 Days of Summer is upon us. Currently, many events and conditions are impacting this return to what we thought could be serving customers and operating as usual. There is a steady decline in the number of COVID cases nationwide, but there are disparities in these improvements by state or county. Check Worldometers for a country, state, and county daily update: (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ country/us). Continue to monitor conditions in your area as conditions change. Check with your local health department for the latest information. Find your local health department here: https://www.naccho.org/ membership/lhd-directory. The experts predict COVID will be with us for years and possibly escalate in the Fall. Regardless of the possibilities, there remains a need for continuing high levels of care and concern for the customers, and the employee’s health and wellness. The expectations of the customers and employees have changed, and successful store operations depend on adapting to these new expectations. Although unique to most businesses, the 7-Eleven stores have remained open during the worst phase of the pandemic and do not face the difficult task of reopening. But, there is a reopening to consider as customer traffic increases with more people returning to work. With many employers having employees work at home, there may be lessened peaks in traffic, but a continuing stream of traffic at all hours. This can be positive and negative. The key to success in this new era is having a clear strategy, one that involves your employees, customers, vendors, and partners outside the company.

“There is a steady decline in the number of COVID cases nationwide, but there are disparities in these improvements by state or county.” YOUR EMPLOYEES

If an employee calls in with a positive COVID test or a family member is positive, follow the procedures as detailed by the CDC. If the employee feels it’s from the store, report it immediately to your insurance company for investigation and resolution. It could be a viable workers compensation claim, but if the employee is not allowed to pursue a claim, there could be legal and financial implications. Telehealth—Most medical and workers compensation insurance companies offer a video or phone consultation. Encourage your employees to contact you about calling in medical concerns before going to a clinic. MSIG policyholders have this workers compensation service available.

Many have been working through the entire situation, while others may have taken YOUR CUSTOMERS time off because of health, family health, SEI and your city or state will provide childcare, and more. Questions to ask: the guidelines as the reopening progresses. • Do you or your managers ask the em- Your customers are expected to follow the ployee’s every day, “How are you and do you current guidelines, but what if they don’t? have any concerns, including COVID?” If a customer is supposed to wear a How is your family? mask, what will you say? Remind employee’s • Is the employee following CDC and store how to manage the situation. Communicaguidelines regarding masks, gloves, sanitiz- tion tips: ing, and limiting contact with cus“If an employee calls in with a positive COVID tomer items? • Have you retest or a family member is positive, follow minded employthe procedures as detailed by the CDC.” ees how to deescalate an angry or frustrated customer? • Be nice. Use “please” stating the facts withEmployee theft tends to increase in dif- out emotion. ficult times. As hours are reduced, another • Say what you need to say, then stop. Do not part-time job is gone or financial matters at demand or touch a customer or employee. home worsen, increasing diligence will be If you have to let it go, let it go. As the reessential through internal audits and com- sponsible leader, you or your manager munication with employees on procedures. continued on page 50 AVA N TI M AY | J U N E 2 0 2 0


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and good housekeeping. Appearance matters! Health and safety are the procedures, training, and general conditions to assure your customers and employees feel and are safe. Stress has increased for everyone. Talk to your employees and encourage using outside resources (refer them to local mental health resources or this national helpline— https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline). Employment rules are more con“Refresh employee training, fusing than ever. Be mindful of workincluding Operation Alert. ers compensation, wage and hours, Follow-up with reminders, privacy, and dealing with employees especially for new employees.” refusing to work. If you have a management liability policy contact them for guidance, consult with the NCASEF labor lawyer or reference: (https://www. CRIME Robbery, assault, and crime in general eeoc.gov/employers/small-business). Engage in communication that is timely fell rapidly starting March 15. (Domestic violence, however, increased.) As the stay at and frequent to create a shared sense of safety home orders are progressively lifted, there is and security among your employees. a high probability of more crime on the way. Frustration and the current economic CONCLUSION conditions will impact the criminal element, Employee injuries at the store will likely and willingness to commit robbery and increase with the increasing customer trafshoplifting. Remain diligent in your crime fic, frequency of deliveries, and enhanced control efforts. cleaning requirements. Remember the big Refresh employee training, including three causes driving almost 70 percent of Operation Alert. Follow-up with reminders, store injuries: especially for new employees. Key training 1. Assaults 2. Slip and Falls points: 3. Lifting, Overexertion • Be alert to customer behavior. These are the most frequent and most • Do not leave the store to follow or concostly to the workers compensation profront a customer. gram, and require even more diligence to • Do not accuse a customer of a crime or manage employee safety and bottom-line escalate a confrontation. costs. These are challenging times and there PATH TO SUCCESS Profitability, employee health, and will be changes in the retail world. It’s an sound risk management require ideal time to rethink what’s important and an interconnected group of how a solid risk management strategy can key elements help prevent injuries and improve your custo store suc- tomer experience as we move forward. cess. For training resources, sample proStore grams, and guidance on best practices, conditions are contact your insurance company or brothe physical ker/agent. aspects of sanitizing, JOHN HARP CAN BE REACHED AT cleanliness, should manage this by moving on but if it’s an employee being resistant to a request, circle back and work with them to ensure procedures are followed. • Escalate then de-escalate. If someone does not want to comply, remind the employee rules are important, but move it up to a manager or you, or in the absence of management refer to “Be nice, let it go.” Emotions with anger can quickly happen, especially now.

jharp@msigusa.com or 908-604-2951


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recorded—1.6 million in April, reported the Washington Post. Not even during the Great Recession did delinquencies rise this fast. During that time, it took 18 months before there was a single-month increase as large. • Starbucks has reopened most of its locations, albeit with adjusted operations thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, reported Business Insider. With more than 90 percent of its coffee shops now open, most will not allow customers inside. Customers instead can receive their orders by drive-thru, delivery, or the new “entryway hand-off.” • Kum & Go recently opened the doors of its first-ever no-fuel, noparking retail walk-up store in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. The 3,000-square-foot store, unofficially dubbed a “godega,” features freshly prepared foods, a large assortment of beverages, and snacks, as well as health aids, phone accessories, and craft beers and wines. • Carbon dioxide emissions have fallen dramatically since lockdowns were imposed around the world due to the coronavirus crisis, reported The Guardian. Daily emissions of the greenhouse gas plunged 17 percent by early April compared with 2019 levels. When the lockdown was at its most stringent, in some countries emissions fell by 26 percent on average. • CVS Pharmacy recently started delivering prescriptions using self-driving vehicles as part of a pilot program in Houston, reported CNBC. The health-care company partnered with Nuro, a Silicon Valley tech company that’s been developing autonomous driving technology, for the initiative. • In recognition of National Hospital Week, May 10 through 16, Keurig Dr Pepper encouraged consumers to express their thanks and appreciation to healthcare workers on social media, and for every post of gratitude that included #FuelingtheFrontline, the company provided a cup of coffee to a hospital worker, up to one million cups. • As the restaurant industry tries to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic, Dunkin’ is looking to hire 25,000 employees, reported CNBC. The coffee chain recently launched its first advertising campaign centered on hiring to highlight the benefits of working at its restaurants. • A Walcontinued on page 57

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Open Letter To SEI Management Concerns About Mobile Scan-And-Go device rather than a person interfaces with the shoplifter, inspires people who might not otherwise steal to do so. On October 16, 2019, Grocery Dive writer Krishna Thakker published an article entitled “Theft is a Major Risk for Retailers Using Scan-and-Go, Experts Say.” The article states that safeguards attempted, including so-called front-end audits, all too often fail to flag unscanned items. It also cites a 2018 analysis of more than 140 million scan-and-go transactions across 13 major retailers in the U.S. and in the United Kingdom, concluding that scan-and-go adds a product loss of as much as 10 basis points for every 1 percent of sales. An April 17, 2019 article by Tony D’Onofrio, on LossPreventionMedia.com, “10 Percent Retail Self-Checkout Market Growth Collides with Deployment Risks,” states that stores with 50 percent of transactions processed through fixed scan-and-go can expect shrinkage losses to be 75 percent higher than the average rate found in grocery retailing. Scan-and-go has spawned a whole range of inventive ways to steal from retailers, including “ticket-switching,” where a shopper covers the barcode of an expensive item with the barcode of a less expensive item. Several articles site this phenomenon. “An April 17, 2019 article A former Walmart executive was quoted on busiby Tony D’Onofrio, on as LossPreventionMedia.com, nessinsider.com stating that shopper theft states that stores with was a major reason for 50 percent of transactions their abandonment of in favor of processed through fixed scan-and-go Check Out With Me proscan-and-go can expect grams that puts checkouts in the hands of shrinkage losses to be device toting employees 75 percent higher than stationed within the the average rate found store. This solution would be inappropriate for 7in grocery retailing.”

NCASEF Emerging From This Crisis Requires Real Corporate Support As the calendar turns to May, and the global pandemic moves into its third month, it is increasingly clear that SEI wants things to return to normal. But lower customer counts and smaller profits cannot be considered normal. 7-


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Eleven franchisees who are already struggling with elevated labor costs generated by fresh food and hot food. For this reason, a number of major retailers, in addition to Walmart, have abandoned scan-and-go, which in retail technology circles is now considered passé. MultichannelMerchant published an article by Michael Suswal on January 15, 2019 entitled “Why Retailers Are Abandoning Scan & Go Self-Checkout.” Suswal comments, “If Walmart, with its deep pockets and hundreds of dedicated staff, couldn’t make scan-and-go work, what makes other retailers think they can?” MultichannelMerchant also states that shrinkage with respect to scan-and-go has been a huge problem. The author goes on to criticize other large well-known retailers that have not given up on what he characterizes as an “old-fashioned concept.” Moreover, the scan-and-go initiative, as it currently exists, is likely to require a franchisee to hire a person to do nothing but stand at the door as a sentry. We are also concerned customers who are standing in line may resent those who are not required to do so. Since the survey has already been distributed to franchisees without input from the National Coalition, we request that the complete results be provided to all of the franchisee organizations within the system, and a more rigorous, transparent and accurate representative market test be conducted, with the results shared in a similar fashion. Once that has been accomplished, SEI should open a good faith dialogue with the democratically elected National Coalition and its FOA President Board Members to share the results and collaborate on a plan for going forward. We look forward to hearing from you.

HIGHLIGHTS Eleven franchisees are worried about safety and they’re worried about whether they can recover from the hit to their bottom line. Francontinued next page

“SEI’s support plan is really an illusion designed primarily to keep stores open and generate positive PR for the company.”

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NCASEF chisees do not share SEI’s optimism. This is the reality we face as SEI shifts back to overnight deliveries and presses store operators to resume 24-hour operations with barely a hint at future relief from their financial pressure. “It is hard for franchisees to really get a handle on how resuming overnight staffing will affect the bottom line because we don’t know when customers are going to start coming back and spending money,” said NCASEF Treasurer Jaspreet Dhillon. “This will place another financial burden squarely on the shoulders of franchises, many of whom are already struggling.”

HIGHLIGHTS The impact of coronavirus is different across the country. That is why franchisees need flexibility to ramp up their hours and staffing based on the conditions in their local markets. SEI must understand that a one-size fits all approach will not work at this time. Corporate leaders must acknowledge that increasing labor costs now could cripple franchisees financially.

“At this time, when the future is so uncertain with many franchisees in danger of going underwater, SEI needs to extend a strong lifeline which clearly defines for all franchisees exactly what this support encompasses.”

“Corporate needs to provide additional relief to franchisees during this time. It’s going to be a while before we will get back to business as usual, and the future normal is going to be much different than it was,” said NCASEF ViceChairman Michael Jorgensen. “It is in every one’s best interest to be assured there is financial stability within the 7-Eleven franchisee community. At this time, when the future is so uncertain with many franchisees in danger of going underwater, SEI needs to extend a strong lifeline which clearly defines for all franchisees exactly what this support encompasses.” NCASEF made it clear that the COVID relief plan SEI released in April wasn’t nearly enough to offer true relief through the duration of the pandemic. SEI has responded by announcing that our maintenance contracts will be credited between $500 and $550 per store for the month of May. It’s a small step—franchisees need more. Franchisees know it is hard to predict when sales will return to a “normal” mix of products. Currently, stores are mostly selling beer, cigarettes and other staples which will cause a significant reduction in gross profit. Franchisees want to resume selling coffee and dispensed beverages, but because of the crisis, self-serve is prohibited in many areas. The only way to offer those products is to make it employee-serve, which means franchisees paying the additional labor and reducing their net profit.

“Franchisees must understand that we are stronger when we are aligned.” said Jorgensen. “The National Coalition believes all franchisees must demonstrate our unity and demand greater support so franchisees and the franchisor can emerge from this crisis healthy and strong.”

Breaking Down More Of SEI's Misleading Support Plan Recently, NCASEF took a look behind the numbers involved in SEI’s plan to support 7-Eleven franchisees during the COVID-19 pandemic. National news outlets like FOX Business and YAHOO News, trade publications like CSP Daily News, and local newspapers published our information, which pointed out that SEI’s support plan is really an illusion designed primarily to keep stores open and generate positive PR for the company. Now we examine the rest of SEI’s plan, focusing on the three elements on the bottom of the graphic the company produced. • Franchisee Financial Solution Center: Having access to consultation to help us “navigate through the COVID crisis” is all well and good, but what 7continued on page 54

“Franchisee Financial Solution Center: Having access to consultation to help us ‘navigate through the COVID crisis’ is all well and good, but what 7-Eleven franchisees need is financial solutions to help us pay our bills.”

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Eleven franchisees need is financial solutions to help us pay our bills. In some stores, sales are down as much as 50 percent; across the system stores are experiencing a dramatic drop in gross profit. In addition, many franchisees are now paying higher wages—call it combat pay—to reward employees for working on the front lines. That cost will take up much of the $5,000 stipend SEI granted to stores that stay open at least 16 hours per day.

“Because supplies are in short supply and are not getting to stores in a timely basis, SEI needs to indemnify the stores for any liability resulting from a COVID-19 related injury or death.”

• Store Supplies/Sanitation: By now most, but not all, franchisees have received the protective plexiglass first promised when pandemic restrictions were put into place across the country. Not only did SEI fail to deliver the plexiglass in a timely manner, many of the counter shields franchisees initially received were not truly protective.

There has been similar confusion around personal protective equipment, like masks. At the beginning of the pandemic, stores were told to buy surgical masks for retail sale. A short time later, SEI said stores wouldn’t be selling those masks because they were being donated to first responders. Then SEI commandeered the orders, sending stores between 10 and 100 masks for use by store workers.

quired by government agencies, and also commit to covering the cost of lost inventory,” said NCASEF Executive Vice Chairman Michael Jorgensen. • Additional Franchisee Support: The call center can be helpful, especially for franchisees who may struggle to complete the applications to receive relief loans. But many franchisees are running into trouble because they don’t have business relationships with banks. In the 7-Eleven system, franchisees deposit all daily receipts into SEI’s bank account. It’s why many franchisees don’t have their own separate business account. Yet, because most lenders are only making relief loans to existing business account customers, many 7-Eleven franchisees are being excluded. “This crisis “This crisis has really exposed the has really exflaws in the 7-Eleven system. Many of posed the us have long known that the system flaws in the 7was unsustainable. COVID-19 has Eleven system. Many of made that blatantly obvious.” us have long known that the system was unsustainable. COVID-19 has made that blatantly obvious,” said NCASEF Chairman Jay Singh. “No one knows how long this situation is going to last, but we do know that SEI’s support plan is not enough. For hardworking 7-Eleven owners and their employees, who are risking everything to protect the brand, it’s really an insult.”

Disinfectants and other cleaning products were late to arrive because SEI had trouble sourcing these critical products. Once they got a hold of the cleaning products they “force shipped” them to franchisees. While franchisees appreciate finally receiving these critical chemicals, we are fully aware that SEI has an obligation to provide them so stores could remain open. Because of the disruption in the supply chain, the only way stores could receive Sign Up For The Dispatch Newsletter! these products is if SEI force shipped them. Sign up today to receive Dispatch, the NCASEF’s email newsletter that keeps you up to date on “Because supplies are in short supply and are not getting to stores in a timely basis, SEI needs to the stores for any liability resulting from a COVID-19 related injury or death. What’s more, SEI should commit to pay for COVID-19 related disinfecting re-


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the latest 7-Eleven news and announcements from national leadership. With all the changes and challenges happening within our system, the Dispatch newsletter serves as a direct line of communication between the National Coalition and the franchisee community. Receive urgent information, alerts, and reports directly from national leadership as it happens. Head over to www.NCASEF.com and click on the “Subscribe to Our Newsletter” button on the upper right column of the homepage. Then fill out the form to be placed on the Dispatch email list.

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Credit Card Companies Extend EMV Deadline

SEI Sends Message Of Support

Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover have all announced that they will postpone the EMV fraud liability shi for automatic fuel dispensers to April 2021. MasterCard, American Express and Discover have changed their deadline to April 16, 2021, while Visa changed its deadline to April 17, 2021. Under the new EMV liability shi policy, the responsibility for fraudulent transactions will shi to fuel retailers that have not upgraded their dispensers to accept chip cards, reported CSP Daily News. e change in date is in response to letters NACS and other fuel retail associations sent to the four credit card networks that manage the EMV liability shi to request the original October 1, 2020 deadline be delayed given the shelterin-place or stay-athome orders issued by state governments because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As peaceful protests over the killing of George Floyd by a police officer on May 25 in Minneapolis became overshadowed by rioting in cities nationwide, many retailers have suffered property damage and were forced to close stores, reported CSP Daily News. During this time, SEI released a statement expressing its support of franchisees and the communities they serve. “We understand the feelings of injustice in our society and seek a future that is abundant with dignity and respect for all people,” SEI said in the statement provided to CSP Daily News. “As an organization, we are committed to inclusion and fairness to everyone. We are focused on supporting the Franchisees and their store teams as well as our corporate store teams who have been impacted by the events of the last 48 hours. Out of an abundance of caution, we have decided, along with Franchisees, to temporarily close 7-Eleven stores in locations where local officials have issued guidance to do so. We will continue to operate with guidance from

officials as we acknowledge the pain experienced by communities we serve.”

C-Stores Can Thrive During Pandemic With the country in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, the convenience channel is poised to be even more dominant as stay-at-home restrictions are lied, according to a new Nielsen report. e global pandemic has sparked an unprecedented spike in shopping for consumer packaged goods (CPG). At the onset of the pandemic, the shopping trended toward shelf-stable items and sanitizers. As consumers became comfortable in restricted living, supply chain strains evolved to personal care and hair care categories. Importantly, c-stores aren’t known for the in-demand categories that have tracked massive growth over the past several months, yet they could be, the report states. Sales of a few categories, however, are selling better at c-stores than they are in aggregate across the entire CPG landscape. Even with the start of spring and the partial re-openings of many U.S. states, a continued next page

Want to talk to other franchisees? To find the FOA closest to you. Visit www.NCASEF.com to contact any one of the 41 local Franchise Owner’s Associations nationwide. Want to talk to someone at the national level? Call the NCASEF Vice Chairman in your area: The National Coalition has Franchise Owner’s Association member organizations in all 33 states in which 7-Eleven operates. 56

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Paul Lobana, Vice Chairman, President, Southern California FOA

Rehan Hashmi, Vice Chairman, Vice President, Alliance Of 7-Eleven Franchisees

paullobana@aol.com 818.203.2527

rehan711@yahoo.com 847-845-8477

Ajinder Handa, Vice Chairman, President, Greater Seattle, FOA

National Office

425-438-8381 ajinderhanda@hotmail.com

nationaloffice@ncasef.com 210.971.9211

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mart in Fayetteville, Arkansas is reimagining the shopping experience during the coronavirus pandemic by using self-checkout counters only, in lieu of traditional cashier lanes, reported Fox Business. The company said the goal is to see if the increased use of self-checkout will speed up purchases while providing a safer experience for shoppers. • C-store chain Thorntons recently introduced GripHero anti-static hand protectors as the company’s latest measure to enhance guest safety. GripHero hand protectors are biodegradable and designed for use around fuel—and are now available at every fuel pump at every Thorntons store nationwide. • Darren Rebelez, president and CEO of Casey’s General Stores Inc. and former SEI executive vice president, has been selected the 2020 Retailer Executive of the Year by Convenience Store News’ blue-chip panel of convenience retailing leaders, the trade publication recently announced. • Target reported a 10.8 percent jump in same-store sales in the first quarter, the biggest increase in 15 years, as stores stayed open amid the pandemic and millions of consumers opted for online shopping and curbside pickup, reported the Star Tribune. Most of the sales spike was driven by a 141 percent jump in online sales. • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans consume an average of 2.4 burgers per day, which is about 50 billion burgers per year. • While only about 3 or 4 percent of grocery spending in the U.S. was online before the pandemic, that surged to 10 to 15 percent as shoppers sought ways to avoid stores or at least limit visits during the pandemic, reported CNBC, citing new research by consulting firm Bain & Company. • As Americans prepare to return to public life in the age of COVID-19, the vast majority are looking for touchless handwashing fixtures in washrooms, reveals new research by Bradley Corporation. According to the study, 91 percent of Americans believe it’s extremely or somewhat important that public restrooms are equipped with touchless fixtures. • Sales and rentals of recreational vehicles increased continued on page 58

recent Nielsen survey of consumers from 70 countries found that 71 percent of Americans expect the spread and intensity of the local impact of the virus to increase. More than half believe the impact of COVID-19 will last four to six months, while 28 percent of Americans believe it will last longer than six months. With that sentiment, there’s little doubt that many U.S. consumers will continue practicing social distancing and shopping at smaller stores that are closer to their homes. e report states that in the short term, convenience stores have the opportunity to meet the everyday CPG needs of consumers as they navigate their markets’ path to the new normal. Importantly, however, c-stores will have to develop marketing programs that highlight their connections to their communities and inform consumers about expanded assortments for everyday fill-in needs

Fuel Demand Slumps & Rebounds According to the latest fuel demand data from GasBuddy, COVID-19 continued to affect U.S. fuel demand in April, with gallons purchased on its worst day, April 12, down 62 percent compared to the best day of 2020 on March 13. Yet as various states have since re-opened non-essential businesses, demand in the last week of April rebounded 22 percent from the lowest overall week of gasoline demand in 2020 (April 5 - 11). GasBuddy examined fuel transactions from Pay with GasBuddy,

used by more than 750,000 Americans. e year-over-year drop in fuel demand equates to an average purchase of 50 gallons per driver in April 2019 and 39 gallons per driver in April 2020. Fuel demand typically increases throughout the months of March and April as more drivers hit the road with the warmer weather. Year-over-year benchmarked fuel demand shows that COVID-19 influenced a peak drop of 41 pecent the week of March 29 compared to the same week last year. Even as April fuel demand was down significantly compared to pre-coronavirus levels, gallons purchased in the last three weeks of the month saw benchmarked demand inch closer towards 2019’s seasonal rise, down only 31 percent from last year. Select states that reopened saw even greater increases in gallons purchased than at the national level. e week of April 12 saw nominal demand percent increases ranging from 12-19 percent across Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia, paving the way for higher fuel demand for the remainder of the month. As states continue to reopen, employees return to work, and some travelers even embark on summer road trips, demand could continue to see a steady increase throughout the summer.

Grocery Buying Increases e COVID-19 pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders have dramatically impacted Americans’ food spending, reveals a new U.S. Department of Agriculture study. Inflation-adjusted expencontinued on page 58

“COVID-19 drastically affected fuel demand in April, with gallons purchased on its worst day, April 12, down 62 percent compared to the best day of 2020 on March 13.” AVA N TI M AY | J U N E 2 0 2 0


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ditures at grocery stores, su“Expenditures at grocery stores, supercenters, convenience stores, and other retailers percenters, convenience stores, and (food at home) were 6.5 other retailers (food at home) were percent higher in February 6.5 percent higher in February 2020 2020 compared with February 2019. is same spendcompared with February 2019.” ing was 18.8 percent higher in March 2020 compared sights reveals that a focus on cleanliness with March 2019. Comparing spending for will entice more customers to a conventhe same month accounts for seasonal food ience store as travel picks up, reported spending patterns. NACS Daily News. Since gas prices are Inflation-adjusted February 2020 exstill relatively low, consumers are lookpenditures at eating-out establishments— ing to other offers within the store, with restaurants, school cafeterias, sports safety and comfort now paramount in venues, and other eating-out places— this coronavirus age. Nearly half of cuswere 39.3 percent lower than February tomers surveyed (48 percent) say they 2019 expenditures. March 2020 foodhave a store brand preference, and 37 away-from-home spending was 51.0 perpercent of those with a preference say cent lower than March 2019 spending. that cleanliness is a factor driving that During the Great Recession of 2007-09, preference. Some other cleanliness-foexpenditures on both food at home and cused insights from the NACS Confood away from home decreased, with sumer Survey: the largest decrease in February 2009. • e percentage of customers paying for gas by cash dropped from 21 percent to 14 percent, which may be the lowest it could go given how many consumers are shying away from handling cash in the A May 2020 national consumer surcurrent climate. vey conducted for NACS by PSB Incontinued on page 60

Customers Now Favor Store Cleanliness

Questions For The CEO? Got a question you want to ask the CEO of 7-Eleven? Submit it via email to nationalcoalition@NCASEF.com. Include the phrase, “Question for the CEO.” We’ll print your question here next issue. All questions are anonymous. The changing environment franchisees face over the next year is bound to raise many issues we have not faced before. We have all signed a new contract that we have yet to test in practice. So, got a question? Let us know: nationalcoaltion2@ncasef.com 58

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170 percent in May compared to the same time last year as Americans crave outdoor travel as coronavirus-induced lockdowns ease in states, reported Fox Business. • Hershey’s ranked #1 on MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2020 Study, followed by Kellogg’s and Ben & Jerry’s. Brand Intimacy is defined as the emotional science that measures the bonds consumers form with the brands they use and love. The remaining brands in the top 10 were: Nestlé, Campbell’s, Pillsbury, Quaker, Nabisco, Betty Crocker and Stouffer’s. • Kwik Chek announced it has relaunched its loyalty app and is streamlining the sign up process to better serve its customers. The new app will enhance the Kwikcard Rewards loyalty program and give customers the opportunity to earn more points for food, fuel, as well as the ability to use the points as cash inside the store or cents off at the pump. • Kroger had a change of heart over what it recently deemed “overpayments” to quarantined workers on COVID-19 emergency leave, reported CBS News. After a spate of bad publicity, the supermarket chain reversed its previous demand that the employees repay the extra money or face the wrath of bill collectors. • For the first time in its nearly 130year history, General Electric will no longer be making and selling light bulbs as it recently sold its lighting business to Savant Systems, a home automation technology company, reported NPR. • In response to the recent protests over the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others at the hands of police, Uber recently announced a $1 million donation to the Equal Justice Initiative and Center for Policing Equity to support their work in making racial justice in America more than just a promise. • With meat shortages roiling the U.S. during the pandemic, some Wendy’s restaurants have taken burgers—their hallmark item—off the menu, reported Bloomberg. North America’s meat-supply chain has fallen apart as outbreaks shutter slaughterhouses, continued on page 83

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Here are some highlights from the sur“Overall, two in five adult Americans vey: (38 percent) say they are currently • Consumers expect commuting, down from 57 percent to commute again, but not fully. Before who said they were commuting before the pandemic, 39 the COVID-19 pandemic.” percent said they commuted at least five days a week, widely closing stores due to the pancompared to 37 percent who did not demic until mid-March. commute. Going forward, 27 percent expect to commute five or more days a e coronavirus pandemic made week, a 12-point drop. Meanwhile, 43 curbside pickup much more valuable to percent will not commute at all, a 6-point customers and more beneficial to retailincrease. ers, as many stores remain shut to try to More than half (58 percent) of all con• Overall, 7 percent of Americans say curb the spread of COVID-19, reported sumers say their communities will rethey purchased items at a convenience CNBC. e number of orders placed onopen more non-essential businesses store daily during the pandemic, the line and picked up at brick-and-mortar within the next two weeks and they exsame percentage that was recorded in stores by customers surged 208 percent pect to be commuting, but at a lower January 2020. However, it may take between April 1 and April 20 compared level, according to new consumer relonger to establish routines with comwith a year ago, according to data pulled search from the National Association of muters: one in four Americans (23 perfrom Adobe Analytics, which measures Convenience Stores (NACS). Overall, cent) who will commute say they will the web transactions of 80 of the top 100 two in five adult Ameriimmediately return to their normal rouinternet retailers in cans (38 percent) say they tines at convenience stores. the U.S. Meantime, are currently commuting, • Nearly half (48 percent) of all Amerionline sales in the down from 57 percent who cans say they have a brand preference U.S. jumped 49 persaid they were commuting for a specific convenience store, and the cent from March 12 before the COVID-19 panreasons have evolved considerably. Prefto April 11, comdemic. at means fully erence based on gas price dipped from pared with a baseone-third of all commuters 58 percent to 53 percent, while cleanliline from March 1 are off the roads, even aer ness was sought by 37 percent. to March 11. Retailsome recent increases. • A strong 88 percent of Americans say ers did not start convenience stores are essential businesses. Consumers also say stores have strong values: 78 percent say that convenience stores share their values and do busiDo you have a store experience, some operational expertise, or ness the right way. is is an 8-point jump thoughts about the 7-Eleven system you would like to share with since January and the highest recorded in your fellow storeowners? Avanti Magazine welcomes articles from the five years the question has been asked. franchisees interested in communicating their ideas, knowledge, • Consumer interest concepts like suggestions, opinions, etc. to the franchisee community at large. cashierless check-out, curbside pickup Please contact Sheldon Smith at sheldon.smith5@verizon.net or and delivery has grown, and all have at215-750-0178 if you would like to contribute an article to Avanti. tracted more interest over the past four • Consumers rated access to hand sanitizer in-store and at the fuel pump as the top two choices when asked which enhanced safety procedures they thought were appropriate to implement at convenience stores. • Consumers said that bathrooms were the biggest concern for exposure to COVID-19, followed by other customers.

Curbside Pickup Surges

C-Stores Ready To Serve Commuters

Share Your Experience and Expertise

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months. Overall, safety benefits were cited by 41 percent interested in cashierless check-out, 38 percent of those seeking curbside food pickup and 27 percent of those who like food delivery.

Online Grocery Shopping Here To Stay Curbside pickup is one shopping service that will remain popular aer the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, reported Chain Store Age, citing a recent consumer survey by distributed commerce network CommerceHub. According to the study, 59 percent of respondents said they are more likely to use curbside pickup following the coronavirus outbreak. is figure increased to 75 percent among respondents who subscribe to multiple delivery services (including Amazon Prime). Home delivery also stands to gain popularity in the post-pandemic retail landscape. Sixty-five percent of respondents say home delivery is the safest option during the crisis, and 69 percent will be more willing to subscribe to a delivery service following the pandemic. In addition, 68 percent of respondents are likely to subscribe to a grocery delivery service aer COVID-19.

OSHA Takeout & Curbside Pickup Guidelines e Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently issued guidelines for those in the restaurant or beverage industry offering takeout or curbside pickup services during the COVID-19 pandemic. e agency said the guidelines were de-

“OSHA issued guidelines for the restaurant industry providing takeout or curbside pickup to help keep workers safe and reduce risk of exposure to the coronavirus.” signed to help keep workers safe and help reduce their risk of exposure to the coronavirus. e tips include: • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick. • Avoid direct hand-off, when possible. e June 5 jobs report surprised econ• Display a door or sidewalk sign with the omists and policymakers, with the U.S. services available (e.g., take-out, curbadding 2.5 million jobs and the unemside), instructions for pickup, and hours ployment rate declining to 13.3 percent, of operation. reported Business Insider. Economists • Reserve parking spaces near the front had forecasted a much worse situation in door for curbside pickup only. • Train workers in proper hygiene practices and the use of “e June 5 jobs report surprised workplace controls. economists and policymakers, • Allow workers to wear masks with the U.S. adding 2.5 million over their nose and mouth to prevent spread of the virus. jobs and the unemployment • Provide a place to wash hands rate declining to 13.3 percent, and alcohol-based hand rubs according to Business Insider.” containing at least 60 percent alcohol. • Routinely clean and disinfect May, with consensus predictions suggestsurfaces and equipment with Environing a loss of 8 million jobs and an increase mental Protection Agency approved in unemployment to nearly 20 percent. cleaning chemicals from List N or that e surprise net gain in employment rephave label claims against the coronavirus. resents a big turnaround from the previ• Practice sensible social distancing by ous month’s report, which showed a loss maintaining six feet between co-workers of over 20 million jobs in April as the and customers. Mark six-foot distances economy largely shut down in response with floor tape in pickup lines, encourage to the coronavirus pandemic. customers to pay ahead of time by phone e net job gains largely reflect peoor online, temporarily move workstations ple returning to work from furloughs to create more distance, and install plexand temporary layoffs, rather than new iglass partitions, if feasible. business expansion. e number of un• Encourage workers to report any safety employed workers who reported that and health concerns. they were on such a temporary work For more information, visit suspension fell by 2.7 million in May, www.osha.gov/coronavirus or call 1-800while the number of workers who said 321-OSHA (6742).

May Jobs Report Surprise Gains

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they permanently lost a job increased by about 300,000.

C-Stores See Rise In Spending Total spending in convenience stores rose by 3.2 percent during the week of May 3 versus the same period of the previous year, according to a new report by ResearchAndMarkets.com. While the number of trips has fallen, spending per transaction has increased. In states that have lied pandemic restrictions the num-

ber of trips has increased, along with spending on non-a lcoholic beverages, candy and salty snacks. One reason for the increase in spending is that many customers are trying to avoid busy supermarkets and are less inclined to shop around and risk exposure to the virus. As a result, some consumers have decided that stocking up on pantry staples and hygiene products in their local convenience stores is a safe option.

“U.S. consumers paid 2.6 percent more in April for groceries, which is the largest one-month jump since February 1974.”

Survey Shows How C-Stores Handling COVID-19 A recent survey conducted by the Loss Prevention and Safety Networking Group (LPN) of its members about how they are coping with the COVID-19 outbreak reveals the challenges c-store operators are having in responding to the pandemic, and how aggressively some retailers are confronting the virus inside their stores, reported CSP Daily News. LPN is a share group for c-store professionals in loss prevention, safety, security and risk management, and the organization surveyed approximately 50 of its member companies, which represent about 5,0006,000 U.S. stores and fuel sites. Highlights from the survey include: • 21 percent are temperature testing employees at non-store facilities. • 64 percent are seeing more restrictions on self-serve beverage and/or food. • 57 percent have experienced mandated store occupancy limits. • 100 percent are using social distancing markers. • 85 percent have installed sneeze guards at the checkout. • 85 percent have an employee who tested positive for COVID-19. • 28 percent are issuing masks to employees. • 43 percent use a professional cleaning crew to sanitize the store upon a report of a positive test.

Grocery Prices Jump In April U.S. grocery prices saw their biggest monthly increase in nearly 50 years in April, reported the Chicago Tribune, citing a report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. e index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased the most among food groups, rising 4.3 percent. A separate index for eggs alone increased 16.1 percent. e index for cereals and bakery products also rose 2.9 percent in April, its largest monthly increase ever. All six major grocery store food groups increased at least 1.5 percent month-to-month. Overall, U.S. consumers paid 2.6 percent more in April for groceries, which is the largest one-month jump since February 1974. e increase in food prices came in a period in which more than 30 million Americans lost their jobs.

Trust in CPG Industry Grows New results released by the Consumer Brands Association show that in the survey’s eighth week, Americans have settled into pandemic life, and the decline in overall concern is mirrored by consumers’ worries over access to high-demand products. Food and beverage access concerns dropped to 61 percent— 16 points lower than the peak on March 18. Further, nearly six-in-ten (59 percent) Americans have noticed greater availabilcontinued on page 66


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ity of at least some high-demand products. e industry’s around-the-clock efforts to increase production and availability are driving greater trust. e pandemic has changed the view of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry for many Americans. While the majority (55 percent) said their trust in the industry hadn’t changed during the weeks of coronavirus, 37 percent said their trust in the industry had increased. Only eight percent reported less trust.

C-Store Sales Jump With Stimulus Checks Consumers spent more at convenience stores during the third week of April than in the prior week, with a marked uptick on April 15 coinciding with the arrival of federal stimulus payments, reported NACS Daily News, citing a weekly report from PDI and NACS on how COVID-19 is impacting consumer behavior. Some key insights for the week ended April 19, 2020 include: • Spend increased 25.5 percent for the week ended April 19, compared with a 23.1 percent rise the prior week. ere was a marked shi in performance starting Wednesday, April 15, as Economic Impact Payments began arriving in consumers’ bank accounts via direct deposit. On April 15, dollars were up 3.9 percent, spend was up 31.3 percent and trips were


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down 20.9 percent year-over-year. • While overall spend and trips were still down compared with a year ago, there were signs of improvement. e decline in yearover-year spend further decelerated, primarily because trips weren’t down as much • Week-over-week improvements were seen almost across the board. Alcohol and other tobacco products (OTP) continued to outperform other categories overall, while lottery and gaming was the top performer when looking at year-overyear gains.

“NACS is working on a new turnkey age-verification program that will verify a user’s age while also protecting personal information and delivering a frictionless experience. It will be offered free to retailers.”

NACS Age-Verification Program NACS recently announced that it is leading efforts to revolutionize age-verification at retail, with a prototype of a revolutionary age-verification program ready for tests later this summer. e announcement was made during the 2020 Verifone Client Forum, which concluded on May 15. e new age-verification program is a turnkey, next generation solution that will verify a user’s age while also protecting personal information and delivering a frictionless experience. Advances in technology, the rapid embrace of online delivery and alternative pickup of products and consumer adoption of mobile communications have set the stage for the development of this program, NACS stated in a press release. NACS is working closely with Conexxus, a nonprofit technology organization

dedicated to the development and implementation of standards and technologies innovation to improve retailer operations and reduce the cost of IT ownership. NACS and Conexxus are completing detailed specifications that standardize the age-verification process at the point of sale that will include ID validation, age calculation, procedures for non-supported IDs and the ability to anonymize verification to protect personal information and consumer privacy. is verification solution would be offered for free to retailers, and its relevant intellectual property placed in the public domain— removing significant barriers to adoption.

Use Of Low-Contact Commerce Increases As the coronavirus pandemic wears on in the U.S., more Americans are adopting low-contact services aimed at obtaining essential goods and services while limiting the spread of the virus, reveals a new Gallup study. Of the six conveniences Gallup has tracked, food pickup at restaurants (44 percent) and curbside pickup at stores (36 percent) remain atop the list of those used more oen in recent weeks. Both have seen double-digit increases between the first continued next page

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reading in late March/early April and mid-May. Restaurant takeout is up 18 percentage points, and store pickup has risen 17 points. U.S. adults report similar increases in the use of virtual doctor visits (+15 points to 27 percent) and restaurant food delivery (+10 points to 23 percent) over the same period. Americans have been less likely to report greater reliance on home delivery of groceries or medical supplies, with both showing minimal growth since the initial measurement. With all states now easing restrictions on residents’ pub-

lic activities, fewer U.S. adults say they are isolating themselves, nearly half are going to grocery stores, and visits to restaurants have increased sharply. Still, many say they plan to exercise caution until a number of criteria are met.

Retail Theft Increased In 2019 Over 348,000 shopliers and dishonest employees were apprehended in 2019 by just 21 large retailers

“Restaurant takeout is up 18 percentage points, and store pickup has risen 17 points.”

who recovered over $136 million from these thieves, according to the 32nd Annual Retail e Survey conducted by loss prevention consulting firm Jack L. Hayes International. Highlights from this annual the survey include: • Shrink: 66.7 percent of survey participants reported an increase in shrink in 2019, with 23.8 percent reporting a decrease in shrink, and another 9.5 percent reported shrink stayed about the same. • Apprehensions: 348,036 shopliers and dishonest employees were apprehended in 2019, up 2.4 percent from 2018. continued on page 68

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• Recovery Dollars: Over $136 million was recovered from apprehended shopliers and dishonest employees in 2019, up 4.9 percent from 2018.

Fuel-Tax Revenues Decline

estimated changes in daily vehicle miles traveled across the U.S. before and aer government shelter-in-place guidance. e difference amounted to a drop from 103 billion miles in early March to 29 billion miles during the second week of April. All states reduced their vehicle miles traveled by at least 60 percent. e drop in fuel use was accompanied by a significant drop in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions: the authors of the study calculated a 71 percent decline in carbon dioxide equivalents from local road travel. e study acknowledges that the emissions benefits of stay-at-home orders could go away once normal activity resumes.

Americans drove drastically less, saved millions of metric tons of greenhouse gases, and, in some states, lost millions in fuel-tax revenue since COVID-19 mitigation efforts took effect in early March, according to the latest special report from the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis. Fuel use dropped from 4.6 billion gallons in early March to 1.3 billion gallons during the second week of April, saving U.S. drivers $8.6 billion per week. It also resulted in fuelGrocery shoppers’ purchasing behavtax revenue reductions, which vary by iors may be changing because of high unstate. In California, where vehicle miles employment and economic uncertainty dropped more than 75 percent, the caused by the coronavirus pandemic, restate’s fuel-tax revenue also plummeted ported CNBC. In from $61 million in early recent weeks, U.S. March to $15 million for shoppers are buying “Fuel use dropped the second week of April. more of a store’s priFor an eight-week, stayfrom 4.6 billion vate labels than at-home order, the loss to gallons in early usual, spending less the state is an estimated across popular conMarch to 1.3 $370 million in funds venience store catethat support highway billion gallons gories like snacks construction, mainteduring the second and sodas, and maknance and transit iming more trips to week of April, provements aimed at dollar stores, the arreducing emissions. saving U.S. drivers ticle states, citing Using data from Street$8.6 billion per data from market light.com, the researchers research firm IRI. In week, and resulting the early weeks of in fuel-tax revenue the pandemic, cusreductions, which tomers stockpiled vary by state.” food, toilet paper and other essentials

From Stockpiling To Penny Pinching


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for prolonged stays at home. Since then, however, the financial picture has become bleaker. Unemployment has risen to 14.7 percent and pay cuts have squeezed family budgets, causing shoppers to become more cautious with their spending.

Pandemic Fuels Alcohol Sales Wine, beer and spirits have each experienced a boost in sales during the pandemic in the c-store channel, reveals a new study by Koupon. According to the study, as virtual happy hours became more popular, there has been a clear shi toward c-store visits later in the day, and a corresponding increase in the sales of adult beverages. In the cstore channel, for the 10-week period beginning February 23 through May 2, 2020 vs. one year ago: • Wine total dollar sales were up 9 percent, beer was up 6 percent, and spirits up 24 percent. • 32 percent of wine buyers were new to the category within c-store, and 17 percent of these first-time buyers have made a repeat purchase. • For consumers buying both before and during the pandemic, wine basket size was up 4 percent, beer up 11 percent and spirits up 6 percent.

Maryland Residents Asked To Shop Certain Days During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in April, the Calvert County Health Department in Maryland asked its residents to grocery shop only on cercontinued on page 70

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tain days, based on the first letter of their last name, to prevent “chronic overcrowding in grocery and convenience stores,” reported WJLA-ABC 7. e department requested that residents voluntarily limit trips to stores to once every five days based on this schedule: last name starting with A-C shop on dates ending with 0 and 5; last name starting with D-G shop on dates ending with 1 and 6; last name starting with H-L shop on dates ending with 2 and 7; last name starting with M-R shop on dates ending with 3 and 8; and last name starting with S-Z shop on dates ending with 4 and 9. e Health Department also mandated that occupancy be limited to five people per 1,000 square feet in county stores. Stores were also required to properly disinfect all shopping carts or make antiseptic wipes available to customers at the entrance, and give employees the opportunity to wear face masks and wash their hands at least once per hour.

Graphic Warning Labels Enforcement Tobacco manufacturers appear likely to receive a second temporary reprieve on meeting enhanced public-health restrictions, another ripple effect from the COVID-19 pandemic, reported the Winston-Salem Journal. e FDA and the manufacturers recently filed a joint motion to extend the deadline for adding

graphic warning labels to cigarette packages by 120 days to October 16, 2021. e manufacturers said the pandemic has complicated their ability to meet the June 18, 2021 deadline. e FDA signed off March 18 on a new set of 11 graphic warning labels for traditional cigarettes that are toned down considerably from its first attempt in 2012. e warnings were mandated by a federal judge for cigarette packaging and marketing. e ruling does not affect other tobacco products, such as electronic cigarettes. e FDA set a June 18, 2021, deadline for the labels to cover the top 50 percent of the front and rear panels of packages, as well as at least 20 percent of the top of advertisements. On April 3, Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., ITG Brands LLC and Liggett Group filed a joint motion requesting a preliminary injunction on implementing the labels and a ruling to prohibit enforcement. e manufacturers repeated their claims that the labels violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

in the coming months, as the Seattlebased coffee giant adapts to a post-coronavirus world in which an even greater percentage of its orders are takeout, reported Restaurant Business. e company also plans to add more mobile order pickup stores like the takeout location it opened in New York City’s Penn Plaza last year. Even before the pandemic, 80

“Starbucks is planning more stores with drive-thrus and more mobile order pickup stores for takeout.”

Starbucks To Open More Drive-Thrus Starbucks plans to relocate more of its mall locations to units with drive-thrus

“e FDA and tobacco manufacturers recently filed a joint motion to extend the deadline for adding graphic warning labels to cigarette packages by 120 days to October 16, 2021.”

percent of Starbucks’ occasions were for takeout, and with even fewer customers expected to drink their coffee in the stores the company is working to improve its service to those takeout customers, according to the article. e potential shi in locations also comes as Starbucks is working to renegotiate rent with its landlords.

C-Stores Foodservice Sales Down, But Merchandise Sales Increase NACS CSX data for the month of April reveals that per store/per month foodservice sales are down by 17.3 percent, compared with April 2019, reported NACS Daily News. Among the foodservice subcategories, per store/per month prepared food sales were down 12.8 percent—but up from 19.8 percent in March. Hot dispensed beverage sales took a huge hit in April, down 40.9 percent, as well as cold dispensed beverages (down 28.7 percent) and frozen dispensed beverages (down 25.7 percent). Commissary, which continued on page 72


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was a bright spot in March (down 0.9 percent), saw a per store/per month sales decline of 17.5 percent. However, inside the store, merchandise sales performed well in April: per store/per month in-store merchandise sales (excluding cigarettes) increased 5.7 percent in April, compared with April 2019, while cigarette sales grew 6.4 percent and beer/wine/liquor sales rose 25.7 percent. Other categories that saw a significant uptick in April 2020, compared with April 2019: Perishable Grocery +101.1 percent; Packaged Bread +33.7 percent; Fluid Milk Products +19.5 percent; and Non-Edible Grocery +17.7 percent.

Nearly Half Of American Drivers Only Refueling Once A Month New survey data on American driving and auto fueling habits by HONK Technologies shows that motorists are fueling up far less frequently than they did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. e results show that most American drivers are reluctant to resume normal activity despite quarantine sanctions being loosened or lied. Prior to the pandemic, 56 percent percent of survey respondents filled up at least once a week, and 11 percent filled up once a month or less. Currently, just 25 percent of respondents fill up at least once a week, and 45 percent fill up once per month or less. Additionally, when motorists do drive somewhere, few are making trips beyond what is necessary for day-to-day needs. When asked what destinations they had driven to Chairman Jay Singh (left) and Exec. Vice Chair Michael Jorin the prior seven days, 83 gensen (right) with Swim percent said they had Across America CEO Rob driven to a grocery store, Butcher at the February Board pharmacy or some other of Directors meeting in Dallas. store for necessary supplies. SAA will be the National Coalition’s target charity again in Just 17 percent had gone 2020. SAA uses funds raised shopping, 21 percent to through hosting charity swims outdoor recreation activi(sometimes featuring former ties, 25 percent to a restauOlympians) to fund cancer rerant or cafe, 31 percent to search. Since 2013, 7-Eleven visit family or friends and franchisees have donated and/or raised over $750,000 for 32 percent to go to work. SAA and cancer research. Just 4 percent did not go out at all.

Advertiser’s Index

Yowie Surprise Rescue Series includes one of 26 collectible endangered species animals.

American Licorice..........................71 Anheuser Busch...............................6 Aon Risk Services.....................14-15 Blue Bunny....................................18 Bug Juice .......................................65 Cima Confections...........................61 Coca-Cola ...............................cover 2 Danone..........................................21 Diageo .............................................4 72

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Dole ...............................................73 Foreign Candy................................77 Ford Gum.......................................85 Glanbia ..........................................55 Hostess ..........................................51 JJ Martin Group .............................62 Johnson&Johnson...............43,46,48 JUUL .......................................cover 3 Kellogg's..........................................9

Living Essentials ............................32 Mars Ice Cream..............................39 Maruchan......................................27 McLane..........................................36 Miller .............................................59 Mondelez.......................................23 Monster.........................................28 National Tobacco ...........................81 Nestle Waters.................................31

Path Water.....................................40 Simply Orange .................5,13,17,44 Swedish Match..............................69 Swisher ..............................3, cover 4 Tell Industries ................................30 Vita Coco........................................78 Volpe..............................................47 Windsor.........................................35

offer immediate, multi-channel customer support throughout the enterprise, with a new mobile app and delivery offering, reported Chain Store Age. Jerry Campbell, SEI’s customer experience lead, told the publication that the com7-ELEVEN DAY IN-STORE pany wanted “a solution that was not only BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION internal customer-friendly (everyday employees CANCELLED in the IT, HR, facilities management and cusGiven the uncertainties associated with the tomer service), but was also just as friendly to COVID-19 pandemic, SEI recently announced our external customers (people who shop at our that it will not celebrate 7–Eleven Day, better stores).” He said the solution needed to inteknown as July 11 (7/11), in stores this year. Ingrate all these systems to imstead, the company said it is giving a special prove service across the birthday gift of one million meals to Feeding full spectrum of the “With America, the largest domestic hunger-rebusiness. ServiceNow CSM, lief organization in the country. Campbell said a franchisee can report SEI added that it is still giving with Servidown equipment and away free Slurpee drinks this summer. ceNow CSM, a get the item serviced beOn July 1, 7Rewards loyalty app memfranchisee can bers will receive one free medium fore it affects the cusreport down Slurpee coupon in their account. The pertomer journey.” equipment and get sonalized offer is redeemable the entire the item serviced bemonth of July, allowing customers the opportunity fore it affects the customer to treat themselves when it's convenient for them. journey. Likewise, a customer can report down As a bonus, 7Rewards loyalty app members will equipment and create the servicing/repair of the find offers on other foods and beverages, like a Big equipment. He also said that after implementing Bite Hot Dog for just $1, from July 1 to July 12. the platform, SEI saw immediate results—the company’s case volume dropped by 93 percent and its resolution rate increased by 205 percent. “This year, we resolved 386,000 customer issues, that’s over 1,000 a day,” Campbell said.

7 FREE ‘WELCOME BACK’ DEALS SEI OVERHAULS CUSTOMER SUPPORT SYSTEM SEI recently deployed the ServiceNow customer service management (CSM) platform to


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To help customers get back to their routines after months in self-isolation during the pandemic, SEI recently announced that participating 7-Eleven stores nationwide are offering seven free any-size hot coffee cups and/or free any size fountain drinks per 7Rewards loyalty member,

one per day through its 7-Eleven mobile app. The company said after redeeming all seven free cups, beverage-loving 7Rewards loyalty members can continue to purchase any size hot coffee for $1 or Big Gulp drinks for just 49-cents. However, there is a catch: while the offer will appear in most 7Rewards members' apps as they reemerge from isolation, unfortunately, customers in states, counties and cities with shelter-in-place and/or clerkserve beverage mandates will only have access to the offer as soon as the restrictions expire. SEI said it has enhanced its standards and procedures for hygiene, hand-washing, sanitation, food handling and preparation in stores, including increased frequency of cleaning hightouch surfaces. All store associates are encouraged to wear masks and gloves when serving customers. Customers are asked to practice physical distancing in stores by standing six feet away from each other in line, and have access to disposable gloves, tissues and sanitizer stations while shopping in stores. To reinforce physical distancing, 7-Eleven has installed sneeze guards and visual floor markers at the front sales counter.

7-ELEVEN RETURNS TO EAST TEXAS 7-Eleven left the East Texas market several years ago, but is now returning to Tyler, about 100 miles east of Dallas, reported NACS Daily News. Permits obtained from the City of Tyler indicate that SEI is in the process of occupying eight Kidd Jones convenience store locations, which are owned by Jerry Kidd Oil Company of Chandler, Texas. The chain operates several locontinued next page

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cations across the East Texas area including in Lindale, Whitehouse, Gilmer, Brownsboro and Tyler. SEI also received a permit to build a c-store with fuel pumps on the former site of a TGI Fridays restaurant in Tyler last year. The restaurant was recently bulldozed, but details about the new store have not yet been announced.


7-ELEVEN & NIKE COBRANDED SNEAKERS 7-Eleven and Nike will collaborate to create a new sneaker featuring the conveniencestore chain’s distinctive logo colors, but the shoes will most likely be released only in Japan, reported the Pineville Voice. The new 7-Eleven and Nike SB Dunk Lows will feature a colorblocking design in orange, green, and red and will come with a three-pack of extra laces to match, each with stripes in the three logo colors at the tips. Nike’s own logo will be displayed on the sides of the shoe with 7-Eleven’s logo seen embroidered onto the lateral heel. The midsole uses Nike Air technology to ensure consistent optimal cushioning. This is Nike’s second collaboration with 7-Eleven since its Christmas SB Dunk High Pro sneakers were released in 2008.

Seven-Eleven Japan has partnered with insurance company MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings to sell life insurance, allowing the insurance company to avoid face-to-face sales amid fear of coronavirus, reported Nikkei Asian Review. Life insurance is normally sold by MS&AD's staff face-to-face with customers, and Seven-Eleven is the first convenience store chain in Japan to sell life insurance, according to the article. The partnership comes as insurance companies search for new sales approaches since the INTRODUCING READYCOVID-19 pandemic broke out. As the first step of the partnership, Seven- TO-BAKE OPTIONS Eleven and MS&AD's affiliate Mitsui Sumitomo SEI recently announced it is offering its Aioi Life Insurance started selling cancer insurance most popular hot food items ready to bake at on June 16. Customers are able to register the home. Options include cheese or pepperoni necessary information through multi-function ma- pizza, chicken tenders, buffalo and spicy bonechines in Seven-Eleven's 20,000 stores. The ap- in wings, breaded boneless wings and Monplication process is complete once they pay the terrey Jack chicken taquitos. Baked in the oven insurance fee at the cashier. Customers can also at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, pizzas are ready in do part of the process through their smartapproximately 20 minutes or less. phones or PCs. Mitsui Sumitomo Taquitos, chicken tenders and Aioi Life Insurance signs about wings are baked in a 450“Seven300,000 new personal indegree oven and are Eleven Japan surance contracts per year. ready in under 25 mins. customers are able to With its tie-in with SevenCooking instructions register for insurance Eleven Japan, the comand times are included through multi-function pany targets 60,000 on each package. SEI machines in Sevencontracts per year, mainly said each product Eleven's 20,000 for elderly people. should be baked in an

Japan stores.”

oven-safe pan and have a best by date of three days. Grab and go, heat and eat, take and bake, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact everyday life for consumers, Americans continue to look for quick, affordable and delicious meal options that the whole family will love on their own time. Customers have the convenience of picking up a couple of pizzas and wings to prepare when they are ready to enjoy them.

FIRST 7-ELEVEN IN HUNAN BREAKS OPENING-DAY SALES RECORD The first 7-Eleven in Hunan, China has broken the global opening-day sales record for the convenience store brand, reporting US$70,310 in sales, reported Retail News Asia. The store attracted more than 5,000 customers on its opening day and sold more than 5,000 Japanese chopsticks, 3,000 sushi balls, 1,500 desserts and 600 loaves of bread. Friendship&Apollo acquired the 7-Eleven’s Hunan franchise rights last October. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the opening was postponed twice.

7-ELEVEN ENTERS CAMBODIA SEI recently announced that it has signed a master franchise agreement with CP ALL continued on page 76

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(Cambodia) Co., Ltd., an indirect subsidiary of CP ALL Public Company Limited, to develop and operate 7-Eleven stores in Cambodia. The Customers who use the program will refirst Cambodian 7-Eleven-branded convenience ceive a discount of 11 cents per gallon on the store is expected to open in Phnom Penh in first seven fill-ups on all fuel grades(limited to 2021. The master franchisee plans to construct 20 gallons per transaction); after which memstores, modernizing the small-retail bers will receive a 3-cent per gallon discount environment and bringing on all fuel grades (limitations apply). The greater convenience to per-gallon discount will automatically “Cambodian shoppers, the comshow on the pump display. company CP ALL pany said in a press now operates close to release. Cambodia DELIVERY EX12,000 stores in will be the 19th Thailand, second only PANDED THROUGH country where 7to Japan in the THIRD-PARTY Eleven stores operate world.” or will operate soon. PROVIDERS In 1988, CP ALL was In addition to its proprietary 7NOW deestablished to operate 7-Eleven livery app, SEI has joined with national delivery stores in Thailand under an exclusive licensing platforms Postmates and DoorDash, as well as agreement with SEI. The first Thailand 7-Eleven Google, to make convenient delivery from 7store opened in Bangkok in 1989, and CP ALL Eleven stores available to as many customers now operates close to 12,000 stores in the as possible, the company recently announced. country, second only to Japan in the world. Texas customers also can use Favor Delivery. Postmates, DoorDash and Favor are all appFUEL LOYALTY ADDED TO based platforms that can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play. Shoppers can also 7REWARDS PROGRAM Sei recently announced that it is pilot- access the delivery platforms by visiting ing Fuel Loyalty in participating 7-Eleven their websites: “Deliveries through stores in North and South Orlando, Florida, postmates.com, Postmates, DoorNorth Texas and Woodbridge, Virginia. The doordash.com and Dash, and Favor Fuel Loyalty program is designed to provide favordelivery.com. will be sourced Shoppers contactless payment options to reduce from the most touch and drive instantaneous savings at simply download convenient store the pump. The company explained that the or access their and a nearby internally developed technology allows cus- preferred delivery courier will fulfill tomers to pay for fuel contact-free through platform, search the customer’s and select 7the 7Rewards loyalty program found in the order.” 7-Eleven app by using mobile payment op- Eleven from the tions or Siri shortcuts on their Apple iPhone. SEI said it is the first retailer to offer this convenient and frictionless Siri functionality, which allows customers to use voice commands to pay for gas.


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list of retailers, click on products to order and pay in the app. On DoorDash, 7-Eleven can also be found in the Convenience tab at the top of the app. Deliveries will be sourced from the most convenient store and a nearby courier will fulfill the customer’s order. Customers can also now search “7-Eleven near me” across Google Search, Google Maps and Google Assistant to order from 7-Eleven locations. For added peace of mind, customers can request contactless delivery for their orders, and they will be left at the door.

7-ELEVEN AUSTRALIA DEPLOYS FACIAL RECOGNITION TECH 7-Eleven Australia is deploying facial recognition technology to all 700 stores nationwide as part of a customer feedback capture mechanism, but says the technology is “not used for any other purpose,” reported ITNews.com. Customers of the Australian arm of the convenience chain have reported the appearance of vague signs being placed in the windows of stores over the past few weeks. "Site is under constant video surveillance. By entering the store you consent to facial recognition cameras capturing and storing your image,” the sign reads. A spokesperson for 7-Eleven Australia told the website that the technology is tied to a deployment of Rate It, a customer experience measurement tool that runs on a tablet device in-store. The spokesperson added that the “use of facial recognition within the Rate It tablet is to ensure that the feedback is accurate and valid, and given customer feedback is so important to us we don’t want the system being ‘gamed’. If a customer doesn’t use the feedback tablet, their image won’t be recorded.” The 7Eleven Australia spokesperson said the general warning at the store entry was worded conservatively on purpose.

Stock up on Smirnoff Red, White & Berry Hard Seltzer and Smirnoff Seltzer Variety 12 pack to boost your summer alcoholic beverage sales: • Smirnoff Red, White & Berry Seltzer 12 pack Can—The delicious taste of Add to your Smirnoff Red, White & Berry is now summer sales with Smirnoff available for a limited time only in a Red, White & Berry Seltzer and Smirnoff Seltzer Variety 12pk. light and crisp, zero sugar hard seltzer. Available in a 12 pack can, it focuses on the key summer holidays pairing the #1 FMB LTO (Smirnoff Red, White & Berry) with the #1 drink in the segment (Seltzer). Consumers love that it comes in a fun Cold-Activated can that turns blue with stars when it’s chilled. In the fall, the UPC will transition to a Seasonal Variety Pack with four top flavors: Peach, Cranberry Lime, Raspberry and Blackberry. Get the only Cold Activated Can in Seltzer before it’s gone. (SLIN 106002) • Smirnoff Seltzer Variety 12pk has a brand-new look. Check out the refreshed packaging with a clean modern look. (SLIN 101211)

MolsonCoors Brings New Items To 7-Eleven MolsonCoors introduces three new items to 7-Eleven stores: • MOVO Wine Spritzers are a modern take on vino, bringing fun and portability to wine. Crafted with simple ingredients, MOVO is the perfect blend of premium wine, sparkling water and real fruit juice. At only 100 calories, these effervescent drinks have a bright, refreshing taste and are 50 calories less than the leading wine spritzer. With no added sugar and gluten free, MOVO is a lively twist on wine. Comes in three flavors: Peach White Blend, Raspberry Rose, and Blood Orange Sangria. • Vizzy is a new line of hard seltzers, made with antioxiMOVO Wine Spritzers, Vizzy, and Blue Moon Light Sky are now available to 7-Eleven stores. dant Vitamin C from Super-

fruit Acerola, juice and natural flavors. Crafted with only 100 calories, certified gluten free, alcohol from real cane sugar, and a 5 percent ALC/VOL, Vizzy makes life more refreshing to enjoy. Vizzy is available in four flavors: Pineapple Mango, Black Cherry Lime, Strawberry Kiwi, Blueberry Pomegranate. • Blue Moon Light Sky is a new light and refreshing wheat beer from Blue Moon, brewed with real tangerine peel for a lighter, exceptional taste at only 95 calories. Blue Moon Light Sky is for consumers at social occasions who are looking for lighter, above premium options with hints of citrus fruit flavors they expect from Blue Moon.

Hit A Home Run With Big League Chew For over 40 years, Big League Chew (BLC) has been a mainstay in bubble gum and novelty candy sets. Big League Chew is a top performing brand, especially in c-stores. In fact, Big League Chew Original flavor is the #4 selling bubble gum item in the convenience channel (IRI L52 ending 2/23/20). The brand is growing faster than all other major bubble gum brands in c-stores. You might be surprised to know that BLC is gluten free, peanut free and vegan. Big League Chew is loved and bought by kids of all ages. Many adults chew BLC for the nostalgia and fun they remember from when they were kids. In July and August, BLC is running an online promotion encouraging consumers to purchase product and find codes printed on the pouches. Daily winners get a chance Top performing to win prizes including Big League Chew brand Big League Chew is now recommended. bubble gum, Big League Chew T-shirt, or a 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame yearbook. The Grand Prize winner gets an all-expense paid trip to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York and a chance to win $50,000 to support their hometown youth baseball or softball program. The Outta Here Original flavor has been recommended for POGs and is in stock for shipments: SLIN# 141718, McLane UIN: 514695, Coremark: 868430 continued on page 80

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New products and services for 7-Eleven Franchisees

Kick Off Summer Sales With Smirnoff Hard Seltzer

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Silk Almond Milk In A New On-The-Go Bottle Danone has unveiled Silk Almond Milk Singles with a new, convenient on-the-go bottle and new Silk branding. Special shelf-stable packaging means your customers can store it in their pantry. Available in two flavors: ● Vanilla—featuring a smooth and improved vanilla taste with 45 percent less sugar and 50 percent more calcium than reduced fat milk. Silk ● Dark Chocolate—made with real cocoa.

ZYN Is America’s #1 Nicotine Pouch

Almond Milk Singles now feature a new, convenient on-the-go bottle and new Silk branding.

ZYN Tobacco-Free Nicotine Pouches have not only revolutionized how people enjoy nicotine, but have changed the entire tobacco category. In 2016, ZYN was introduced across the western United States as a convenient, tobacco-free nicotine pouch that consumers

could enjoy for up to one hour, anywhere, anytime. ZYN’s 2019 nationwide expansion has delivered immediate ZYN is now the #1 tobacco-free nicotine pouch success and shown brand in the United States. growth patterns that exceed the initial release in the West. ZYN is the #1 tobacco-free nicotine pouch brand in the United States for consumers looking for an alternative to traditional tobacco. Led primarily by the results of ZYN, the nicotine pouch category continues to expand and is quickly becoming an invaluable source of growth for retailers. Contact your Swedish Match representative or call 800-367-3677 for additional details.

Drive Candy Sales With Rips & Pip Squeaks Surprise

Foreign Candy is offering two items that will help increase your candy sales. DOLE FRIDGE PACKS ARE ● Rips is the proven power brand that drives store perBETTER THAN FRESH formance. Rips peg bags are With Dole Fridge Packs, you never have to worry about poor quality fruit crowdproven top performers in your ing your shelf space to ultimately end up in the trash. Dole’s fruit tubs are the safe POG. This is not just another and convenient fruit snacking choice, delivering the same great flavor as fresh fruit, licorice. This is a sweet and slightly without all the hassle. sour fruit licorice in bite-size Approximately 40 percent of America’s food is currently wasted, with a large porpieces. This customer favorite contion being attributed to fresh produce. Dole Packaged Foods strives to be a part of tinues to experience significant the solution by providing high-quality fruit products that taste great and offer a growth in convenience. Rips longer shelf-life. Always ripe and ready-to-eat, Dole’s shelf-stable 15 ounce fruit tubs comes in two dynamic peg bag include a flat, resealable lid to maximize shelf space and reduce product waste. flavors—Strawberry & Green Rips and Pip Squeaks Surprise drive store As Americans begin to return to work, there is an increased demand for healthy, Apple and Rainbow/Peelable. performance with kids. portable snacks. With health and safety remaining top concerns for today’s conThis fat free product drives true sumers, offering pre-packaged fruit helps ensure the safety of your customers and innovation in licorice with bite-size pieces, high-quality shows that you care about their well-being. products and the best tasting flavors available. Customers have preferred Rips in a national taste test. Available in four varieties, ● Pip Squeaks Surprise collectible pets & candy Dole Fridge Packs don’t drives continuity. Every Pip Squeaks Surprise inhave the waste associated cludes a fun collectible pet, dextrose candy pet with fresh fruit. food, backpack clip, collection guide and sticker continued on page 82


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set 82. Each collectible pet has its own unique dextrose candy pet food—the dogs have bones, the cats have fish, the monkey has bananas, the rabbit has carrots, the turtle has leaves, and the parrot has bird seed. All dextrose candy has a fantastic fruity flavor. Kids collect all 12 pets and then can send for an exclusive surprise free 13th pet that is not available at retail. Collection encourages multiple purchases and repeat traffic to your store. Kids love the element of surprise and discovering what pet they will find inside.

Tai Pei Frozen Asian Entrees For On-The-Go Customers Tai Pei Frozen Asian Entrees offer fast Asian meals for today’s on-the-go consumer. Tai Pei is available in three delicious flavors made with fresh, authentic, quality ingredients: Chicken Fried Rice, Beef & Broccoli, and Sweet & Sour Chicken. Conveniently located in your frozen food section and ready in minutes, Tai Pei Frozen Asian Entrees give your customers what they Tai Pei Frozen crave. Whenever hunger strikes, a Asian Entrees are available in three delicious flavors made with fresh, tasty Asian meal is ready to go with authentic, quality ingredients. Tai Pei!

Kind Frozen Smoothie Bowls New Kind Frozen Smoothie Bowls are refreshing fruit and almond milk smoothies, topped with creamy almond butter and crunchy granola. Kind Frozen Smoothie Bowls are healthy and delicious, with healthy fats from almonds, 9-10g of protein, and only 5g of added sugar in every bowl. The #1 ingredient in every bowl is a blend of fruits, and they are ready straight from the freezer—just grab a spoon and enjoy. Life moves fast, and so do your customers. Whether its 8am or 3pm, it can be hard to find Kind Frozen Smoothie Bowls are available in three healthy and delicious flavors. something quick, 82

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healthy and substantial enough to fuel them through to the next meal or their day. Stock up and order all three flavors: Almond + Mango Pineapple Passion Fruit; Almond + Triple Berry Açaí; and Almond + Chocolate Banana. Ready to enjoy straight from the freezer.

High Profits With Hostess Suzy Q & Iced Lemon Cupcakes Get the most out of your Sweet Baked Goods sales by ordering the Hostess Suzy Q 4-count caddy and Hostess Iced Lemon Cupcakes 6-count caddy for your store today. All stores love high gross profit, and Hostess Singles generate 62 percent GM/$1.31 GP Hostess Suzy Q & Iced Lemon every day. Sweet Baked Goods is a win- Cupcakes generate 62 percent GM/$1.31 GP every day. ning category—large, growing, and frequently purchased. Hostess is the category leader and is winning in the marketplace at plus 5.4 percent versus the previous year. Hostess cakes and breakfast pastries have a strong affinity and pair well with coffee and breakfast drinks

Vita Coco Coconut Water In Three Great Tasting Flavors Vita Coco’s coconuts are hand-picked on thousands of small family farms and are packaged immediately in a sustainable, shelfstable, Tetra Pak for maximum freshness. Packed with essential electrolytes, nutrients, and coconut goodness, Vita Coco Coconut Water is perfect for replenishing post-workout, rehydrating post-party, and the general human tendency to get thirsty. Through the Vita Coco Project, Summertime is peak season for Vita Coco Coconut Water. Vita Coco has committed to helping impact 1 million people in coconut farming communities, with initiatives ranging from farmer empowerment, industry development, and education. continued on page 84

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heightening the prospect that pork, beef and chicken may go missing from grocery shelves and restaurant menus. • Several Michigan business owners recently teamed up to declare May 21 “Michigan Take Yourself to Work Day,” encouraging all businesses to open on that day in defiance of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay at home order during the COVID-19 pandemic. • Nestle is exploring a potential sale of part of its North American water business, including the Pure Life brand, as the company shifts focus to better performing brands like Perrier, S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, reported Reuters. • Restaurant chains including McDonald’s, Dunkin’ and Wendy’s that invested in the breakfast category last year are now seeing those sales slip, as fewer people eat out for breakfast during the pandemic, reported CNN Business. • PepsiCo and Vital Pharmaceuticals Inc., the manufacturer of Bang Energy drinks, have entered into an exclusive deal for PepsiCo to distribute the portfolio of Bang Energy beverages in the United States. This alliance is set to significantly increase distribution of the Bang beverage lineup, the companies said in a press release. • Sheetz and Wawa recently announced they have teamed up to provide emergency food bank relief amid COVID-19. The two c-store chains donated a combined 1,000 lunches, as well as a combined $4,000 to both Helping Harvest Food Bank in Reading, Pennsylvania and Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania • As of the week ending May 22, six states had more than one million workers either receiving regular unemployment benefits or waiting for their claim to be approved: California (2.6 million), New York (2.2 million), Texas (1.6 million), Michigan (1.1 million), Georgia (1.1 million), and Pennsylvania (1.0 million), according to a report by the Economic Policy Institute. • The estimated cost to test every nursing home resident and staff just once is $440 million nationwide, according to a new report by the American Health Care Association and the National Center of Assisted Living.

FOA Board Meeting Dates CENTRAL FLORIDA FOA Phone: 207-415-0924 August 25, 2020 November 10, 2020

COLUMBIA PACIFIC FOA Phone: 503-998-5941 September 17, 2020—General Members Meeting October 29, 2020—Board Meeting

FOA OF GREATER LOS ANGELES Phone: 619-726-9016 July 21, 2020 September 15, 2020 October 20, 2020—Meeting & Mini Trade Show November 17, 2020

MIDWEST FOA Phone: 847-971-9457 July 23, 2020—Board Meeting August 20, 2020—Board Meeting October 22, 2020—General Meeting & Golf Social October 29, 2020—Board Meeting November 19, 2020—Board Meeting

SAN DIEGO FOA Phone: 619-713-2411 July 16, 2020 August 20, 2020 September 17, 2020 October 22, 2020 November 19, 2020

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FOA Phone: 818-357-5985 July 15, 2020 September 16, 2020 November 18, 2020

SOUTH NEVADA/ LAS VEGAS FOA Phone: 702-561-0311 July 16, 2020—Board Meeting August 9, 2020—Board Meeting September 10, 2020—Board Meeting September 17, 2020—General Meeting October 8, 2020—Board Meeting November 12, 2020—Board Meeting November 19, 2020—General Meeting & Elections December 10, 2020—Board Meeting

SOUTH TEXAS FOA Phone: 702-249-3301 July 8, 2020—Board Meeting August 19, 2020—Board Meeting September 9, 2020—Board Meeting September 16, 2020—General Meeting October 7, 2020—Board Meeting November 11, 2020—Board Meeting November 18, 2020—General Meeting December 2, 2020—Board Meeting

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Summertime is peak season for Vita Coco Coconut Water. Stock up today on three great tasting flavors: Original, Pressed Coconut, and Pineapple.

Offer The Ultimate Snack With Volpi Roltini Singles Volpi Roltini Singles are the ultimate better-for-you snack. Now available in a new, bold flavor combination: Oaxaca Cheese wrapped with thinly sliced spicy Chorizo for the perfect protein pick-meAll natural Volpi Roltini Singles are keto-friendly, up. Each batch gluten free, and have no is packaged into artificial ingredients. 12-count display boxes ready to merchandise in your fresh cooler. Volpi Roltini Singles are all natural, keto-friendly, gluten free, contain no nitrates or nitrites, and have no artificial ingredients. (SLIN # 290217)

Swisher Sweets Collectible Pouches Swisher Sweets Original Red collectible summer pouches are available only for a limited time. The classic and satisfying smoke of Swisher Sweets is dressed up in four new colors to really start summer off with a bang. With four unique Fourth of July-themed designs, these brightly colored collectible pouches will put the fun in summer. This seasonal limited time offer is destined to be in highdemand, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to stock these hot designs. The timeless taste and the festive pouches will provide many reasons for adult consumers to embrace the Summer is Sweet lifestyle. Swisher Sweets Original Red collectible summer Swisher Sweets Original Red collectible pouches are available in a summer pouches will be in high demand. variety of market-driven price points and will ship nationwide in June, but only while supplies last. For more information, contact your Swisher representa84

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tive at 1-800-874-9720 or check out the product updates page on www.swisher.com

Dri Mark Flash Test Is Fast, Powerful, & Reliable The Dri Mark Flash Test uses three fast, reliable tests to detect counterfeit bills: Detection of the security stripe, the watermark, and an ink sensor. The Flash Test gives results in less than a second on the ink sensor, enabling your frontline staff Protect members to make a quick, discreet decision your store in accepting currency. Further testing of a suspifrom counterfeit cious bill is available right on the same device with bills with the Dri Mark Flash Test. the watermark detector and the UV security stripe detector. The Flash Test’s UV light quickly highlights the security stripe on genuine U.S. currency. Additionally, the powerful LED will quickly reveal the presence—or absence—of the watermark that should appear in all genuine bills. 7-Eleven stores are a perfect place for counterfeit thieves to pass off their bogus money. Most 7-Eleven clerks have several things going on at the same time. At hectic, busy times, when there might be ten people impatiently standing in line, visually checking each customer’s money for authenticity is the last thing on a clerk’s mind. Using the Flash Test becomes automatic and requires no thinking. That’s why it’s so effective. No matter how busy a clerk may be, he/she simply swipes the face of a bill against the ink sensor, and if it doesn’t make a sound, the clerk knows there’s a problem. The Flash Test is so easy to use that the clerk can be on autopilot and still detect a counterfeit bill.

New think! Bar Supports Keto Lifestyle think! Introduces its New think! Keto Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie bar will attract customers new Keto Protein Chocolate following the Keto diet. Peanut Butter Pie bar, which is packed with luscious peanut butter and peanut pieces covered in a thick layer of decadent chocolate. think! Keto Protein bars contain the nutrients consumers need to maintain a Keto lifestyle—protein, low carb, low sugar and high fat. Available now from McLane and Core-Mark, so order today for your store.

foa events FOA Of Greater Los Angeles Golf Invitational Black Gold Golf Club Yorba Linda, California NEW DATE: TBD Phone: 619-726-9016



Greater Oregon FOA Annual Trade Show Monarch Hotel Clackamas Oregon July 15, 2020 Phone: 503-984-1398

Delaware Valley FOA Trade Show Caesars Atlantic City Hotel Atlantic City, New Jersey July 16, 2020 Phone: 215-771-6178



Greater Oregon FOA Golf Tournament (Venue TBD) July 16, 2020 Phone: 503-984-1398

San Diego FOA Day At The Races Del Mar Racing Del Mar, California August 28, 2020 Phone: 619-713-2411



Columbia Pacific FOA Golf Tournament

Midwest FOA/ Alliance of 7-Eleven Trade Show

South Nevada/Las Vegas FOA Table Top Trade Show

Rosemont Convention Center Rosemont, Illinois September 9, 2020 Phone: 847-971-9457

Sierra Gold Las Vegas, Nevada October 15, 2020 Phone: 702-561-0311

San Diego FOA 27th Annual Charity Golf Tournament

Chicagoland FOA Holiday Trade Show

The Vineyard at Escondido Escondido, California September 9, 2020 Phone: 619-713-2411

Southern California FOA Midwest FOA/ Charity Golf Alliance of 7-Eleven Tournament Franchisees FOA Industry Hills Golf Club at holiday party Pacific Palms Resort City of Industry, California September 29, 2020 Phone: 818-357-5985

Pasadena Convention Center Pasadena, California September 30, 2020 Phone: 818-357-5985

San Diego FOA Vendor Appreciation Day Alesmith Brewery San Diego, California October 7, 2020 Phone: 619-713-2411

Midwest FOA/ Alliance of 7-Eleven Franchisees FOA Golf Social

San Francisco/Monterey Bay FOA Golf Tournament

Top Golf Chicago Naperville, Illinois October 8, 2020 Phone: 847-971-9457


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Chicago O'Hare Marriott Chicago, Illinois December 2, 2020 Phone: 847-971-9457

Southern California FOA Columbia Pacific FOA Annual Trade Show Holiday Party

The Reserve Vineyard & Golf Club Aloha, Oregon NEW DATE: August 31, 2020 Phone: 503-998-5941

Castlewood Country Club Pleasanton, California August 31, 2020 Phone: 510-693-1492

Holiday Inn & Suites Chicago North Shore Skokie, Illinois October 28, 2020 Phone: 847-343-7777

(Venue TBD) December 6, 2020 Phone: 503-998-5941

Midwest FOA Michigan Holiday Party (Venue TBD) December 9, 2020 Phone: 847-971-9457

Central Florida FOA Christmas Party (Venue TBD) December 12, 2020 Phones: 207-415-0924

San Diego FOA Holiday Party Hilton San Diego/Del Mar Del Mar, California December 12, 2020 Phone: 619-713-2411


Board meetings National Coalition Board Of Directors Meeting Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center D National Harbor, TPONE POSMaryland August 9-10, 2020 TO BE RESCHEDULED

NCASEF 45th Annual Convention & Trade Show Gaylord National Resort & ONED P Convention Center T S O P National Harbor, Maryland August 10-13, 2020 TO BE RESCHEDULED

National Coalition Affiliate Meeting Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa Koloa, Hawaii November 2, 2020

National Coalition Board of Directors Meeting Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa Koloa, Hawaii November 2-4, 2020

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